“ Wow you are so brave for living in Ecuador!”
The definition of Brave : Ready to face and endure danger or pain.
I have not only heard this said to me once, but many times throughout this year.
Supposedly, it is very brave to live in a second or third world country for a long period of time.
Now why is that?
Is it because second and third world countries will not be able to sufficiently provide me “Good” health care or is it because I will be faced with the challenge of unfiltered water and possibly a lower level of living standards?
Understanding this concept has been a difficult one for me to grasp and accept. I do not see my decision to live in a foreign country for a long period of time, as a sign of bravery, but simply, the pure quest of curiosity. The Curiosity, to truly understand the world outside of my News/Media filtered lifestyle.
How am I suppose to create an opinion or understand an issue without uncovering and fully experiencing every moment from both sides?
I was led to believe, that as a citizen of a first world country, it was my duty to help the “Less Fortunate”. What I am learning, is that this is a false theory. How do we define less fortunate?
There is this story, of a volunteer group that went to Africa to help the,“ Less fortunate”. The volunteers were Brave right? Unfortunately theses volunteers never truly asked the people what they needed, until one day a woman of the village said they wanted a pool. The volunteers obviously thought this was a ridiculous request. A pool, a luxury!
Why did the woman ask for a pool you wonder?
Well, this woman had two sons who were joining the Navy, and the sons never learned how to swim, and she felt a pool would offer an opportunity for swimming lessons, not just for her sons, but for the community as a whole, reducing the risk of life from drownings which was very common in this region.
I am reminded daily to never read a book by its cover.
Ecuador is not only a very safe country, but a wonderfully progressive country in use of technology, level of living standards, and public health care services. The people are genuinely happy , unlike many citizens of first world nations. Ecuadorians take their time to be present in their daily activities and wholeheartedly engaged.
While, for most nations, we seek to industrialize and keep up on our fast paced lifestyle, we have also lost something very special. We have lost the ability to truly be in the moment and just let go of our obligations, insecurities and worries and relish in the what is now.
I am not brave for living in a second world country, but honored to experience something my own world could not offer me.
A world without constant connection.