Friday, August 30, 2013

Feeling self-conscious

I went jogging here for the first time yesterday.  I'd been waiting to find out whether it was culturally appropriate and more importantly if it was safe before I ventured out.  Turns out it's okay and there's a specific road that most men & women run on ... so, that meant it was time for me to get out there.

When living in countries where the poverty level is high I always feel really awkward exercising in public.  Mostly because it seems like an advertisement of my excessive lifestyle -- I have so much food to eat that I need to do additional activity to burn it off and I don't work in a labor intensive job from dawn until dusk so I have both time and energy to exercise.  It just feels wrong, like I am rubbing in the abundance that I have.

I think I am feeling it even moreso in this place because I am also staying at home to take care of Luke which  in my mind is yet another sign of our wealth ... the women here do not appear to be stay at home moms and you rarely see them playing with their babies.  Mostly, I see women working in handicraft stalls, selling vegetables at the fresh food market, working in bakeries and small shops -- all with their babies slung onto their backs.  Add to that the fact that it seems many of the homes here are 1/3 (or less) the size of our "small" one bedroom apartment.

We are living on what is an incredibly small salary by US standards (I have friends back home who make more in one day than what Jason will in one month) and yet it is easy to see how wealthy we still are.  These are things that I think I eventually stop seeing because as I live somewhere my sensitivity to my new surroundings changes ... but for today I am glad that I can see it and be aware of the overwhelming wealth I have.

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