Just returning from Western Sahara I cannot let go of the thought that we in the material world are extremely blessed; we don’t have to struggle to survive, we don’t have to fight hunger on a daily basis, we don’t have to be afraid that water supply will run empty tomorrow, we don’t have to worry about not having enough clothes to protect ourselves against harsh climates. As a matter of fact we don’t have to worry about a thing. And still, has all this material surplus made us any happier? Whenever I travel to the so-called Third World – or developing countries as is another somewhat condescending term often used – I almost always come back with the same impression. People may be struggling to survive in those countries, but they have a dignity, a foundation of self, a care for each and a connection with what really matters in life that I hardly see in my part of the world. At least this seems to be true as long as people are actually able to survive – even if the struggle is hard. I am not trying to romanticizing poor people’s life – there is absolutely nothing romantic about being hungry, knowing your kids will have no chance in life, being cold or thirsty, but I just wonder if materialism in itself makes us lose the connection with true values of human existence. Is it so that the more wealth we gather, the less human we become, less passionate, less compassionate, less content, less generous, less thoughtful? I don’t have the answer, but again and again I have learned that material wealth in itself does not make for a happier life. Do you have any thoughts?
Above I have posted a handful of pictures from Øystein’s and my trip to Western Sahara. It shows some of the beauty and dignity of the people we met while travelling. I want to thank all of you who followed us on the blog. It’s been a tremendous inspiration for our work to read your comments. I also want to apologies for not being able to follow up on your comments; time just didn’t suffice.