A little perspective

I arrived in Zambia a couple days ago on a work assignment for the next two weeks, assisting with a program review here for an NGO. In one of the interviews I carried out this morning, I met with the principal of a community-based school (as opposed to government or private) and I was quite surprised to hear of the monthly pay for the teachers in that school: 500 kwachas. Converted into CAD this is roughly 70 dollars per month.

While this $70 goes much further in Lusaka than Ottawa, you can imagine this would still pose a challenge for someone trying to make a living. And while I don’t make a killing in Canadian standards, I was reminded that relative to most of the world population I am doing well. I plugged my income into the Global Rich List website and found that I am “in the topĀ 0.38%richest people in the world by income.”

I am not exactly sure what to do with that. One response is to give generously to high quality charities that are doing work with vulnerable people at home and around the world – people less fortunate than myself, at least in financial terms. Another response is to always be grateful for what I have, and to try not to take it for granted.

I would be interested in hearing your perspective on this. How do you process the extreme inequality of quality of life around the world? It is something I have never been able to get my head around.

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