Poverty has a way of making you question everything you thought was important; at least it did for me today. I was overwhelmed by how little the people in rural Ghana have compared to me. Yet while living in conditions far worse than I could even imagine, they are content and so grateful for what God has given them.
One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing someone constantly complain. I usually roll my eyes and walk away. But I have to admit; I complain so much about things that people here in Ghana don’t even have to complain about. My 99 “first world problems” carry no weight in the third world. In fact, my irritation and unhappiness with wifi in the hotel earlier today suddenly wasn’t an issue anymore. Compared to real problems like poverty, mine are just silly.
I watched as kids and adult volunteers at the Compassion project in Bakpa, Ghana danced and sang in a block church with a dirt floor. Most families in America wouldn’t park their car in this type of building but to them this was an amazing place to worship, learn, and play. Later, we went to a home of one of the Compassion kids who needs a sponsor. Here, 7 people live in a 10×10 home. There was one bed, a chair, and a shelf for storing food and the other small things they had. It was heartbreaking. But even though they live in extreme poverty everyday, their faith was strong… way stronger than mine. I saw joy like I’d never seen it before: a joy that could only come from God. They had hope in the midst of what looked hopeless.
All of my “problems” vanished today because the people of Bakpa, Ghana have real problems and are still grateful, hopeful, joyful, and never complain.