Yesterday I had the chance to catch up with an acquaintance originally from Togo, Africa. We talked a lot about family. I asked him if all of his family is now here in the U.S. His answer was not what I expected to hear. His mother is not yet here. In fact, she will not be moving here at all. She visits but is only able to stay in the US for some months and then must return to Togo. When I pressed him to explain he began with, “I feel the same way, honestly. I would prefer life in my country.”
The tone in his voice and look in his eyes resonnated with me; I knew where this was going. “Here we live on this spinning wheel that never stops. Work, sleep, stress, busy, busy. In my country life is not like that. We have time. We take time. We know each other. Life is just different, you know? I will move back one day.”
According to Humanarium (https://www.humanium.org/en/togo/) “The average monthly income per inhabitant is $45 in Togo, compared to an average of $156 for Africa as a continent and $858 worldwide. Extreme poverty has serious consequences on children’s lives. Their health is significantly impacted by malnutrition, dietary deficiencies and child labour (UNICEF, 2017). Due to a lack of resources, many children are effectively forced to work instead of going to school.” Despite these facts,my acquaintance (who, by the way, is educated, employed and insured) would prefer to live there over our United States.
I’m just going to leave it there.