Developed Countries Should Count Blessings

Faith Stapleton, Reporter

Americans worry about what they will eat for a snack today, while at the same moment in a far away developing country, people worry if they are going to eat anything at all. United States’ residents are oblivious to the circumstances in countries thousands of miles away.

“The children [in developing countries] do not go to school, they do not regularly bath, they do not have toys,” ‘Clean the World’ employee Kristin Rucker said.

Kristin Rucker went to Zambia, a developing country overwhelmed with poverty. She distributed soap to families, so they could properly bathe themselves. While visiting Zambia, she witnessed the misfortune families are faced with everyday. Her experience caused her to realize the cultural and economical differences between the United States and the developing countries she helped, leading to her to feel grateful for what she has.

“Now I am so thankful that soap is in every bathroom. There is running water all over,” Rucker said. “I am grateful to live where I don’t have to struggle to be healthy. I am grateful to live where children do not die from preventable diseases, and I am happy to work at ‘Clean the World’ who is doing something to help children live and thrive with proper hygiene, education, and access to soap.”

The daily life of  most children in America consists of going to school and hanging out with friends while the daily life of youth in developing countries is spent in a completely different way.

“One of the duties of children include walking long distances to gather water for the day (used for cooking),” Rucker said. “Children help take care of smaller children. This could mean a five year old must carry an infant wherever they go.”

Some Americans fall victims to valuing technology or material objects more than family or beliefs. Worse, they sometimes don’t think it’s materialistic to feel their phone, car, etc. is more important than the people around them. Society is partly at fault; for it has pushed the idea of materialistic items holding incredible importance.

The children in third world countries who don’t have materialistic things hold companionship closer to their hearts, as observed by Rucker.

“They have very little but each other,” Rucker said, “but they [Zambia families] are happy and imaginative together.”

Some of the kids in developing countries have never even heard of products that people in first world countries have. A simple sticker can bring immense joy.

“A volunteer brought stickers which was an extra treat for the children,” Rucker said in her article Changing Lives in Zambia. “Word spread fast outside the facility. Children ran down the road in droves. Within 30 minutes, 100 children gathered for the treats. Some of them ran a half-mile for the chance to receive something fun and colorful.”

Like stickers, many Zambian children have not experienced other quintessential American activities.

The generation of children and teens today in developed countries are known to be obsessed with their looks (selfie anyone?) while only a few kids in developing countries have ever seen a photo of themselves or even looked in a mirror.

We took polaroid pictures of the children and gave them to them,”Rucker said. “They had never seen their face or a photograph.”

From small items like stickers and photos to huge survival factors like food,  the differences between developed and undeveloped countries goes on.

On average, an American will consume around 2,200 calories a day while poverty stricken people in third world countries normally intake only about 500 calories a day.

“They [Zambians] have one meal a day which consists of nshima, a thick cornmeal porridge,” Rucker said. “Much of the day is spent cooking nshima.” 

Nshima is a meal that most of the population of Zambia have as their daily meal, consisting of maize-flour and water. Nshima is only about 450 calories per severing. The Baskin-Robbins Large Chocolate Oreo Shake is 2,600 calories, which is about three days worth of the calorie consumption for a Zambian. 

Like their food, living conditions are almost as inadequate.

“The floor is dirt, doors consist of tattered cloth blowing in the breeze, and the bathroom is a large ditch in the distance,” Kristin Rucker said in her article, Changing Lives in Zambia.

Despite their conditions, the children in developing countries are known expressing joy for the very little they have to call their own. It proves people don’t have to be materialistic to be happy. 

The lives of people around the world are extremely different, but there is one thing in common, love. Everywhere around the world, no matter what the circumstances, people can find acts of love. 

Countries even show love for one another by giving a helping hand through charities and organizations that raise money for residents in need.

Some people who live in developed countries don’t realize how lucky they are until they learn about the situations in third world countries. In order to help others in need, people must first realize how lucky they are.

“Everyday is blessing,” Rucker said. “We take so much for granted.”