When I was working in television I had the great fortune to visit Ghana. We were making a documentary about an old ship Anastasis which provided medical and dental treatment free to African countries.
The ship was staffed by volunteers, mostly from the USA with a few Brits and Europeans who gave up their time to offer their medical skills and knowledge. Some families lived on board year round and others, mostly the singles, were on board for two weeks to four months.
The ship was part of a fleet owned by YWAM (Youth with a Mission) and although Anastasis is no longer in service other ships still provide this much needed medical service.
Whilst we were filming a young girl was brought onto the ship - she had severe burns and her father had walked for three days to bring her to see the doctors. Other children were operated on for cleft pallette and adults were offered simple proceedures such as cataract surgery, without which they could have ended up on the streets living as beggars.
The hospital moved me to tears but not as much as the children we filmed the following day who, without shoes, walked several kms, singing, to assemble under a makeshift cover. The YWAM team were going to build a school at the site. The children were so excited. On the surface they had nothing yet their hearts were so rich and they seemed filled with a natural happiness and joy.
It is a moment I will always treasure.
Later on I visited one of the villages. The grass huts were simple and the villagers welcomed us with open arms. With the help of a translator we talked a little and learned about their lives, their hopes for their children and themselves. The school was a big thing.
There are of course moral and philosophical factors to be considered and the fact that Ghana has been ruled autocratically for many years. It is not a completely rosy picture. However despite their abject poverty I recognized a richness and happiness amongst those children and the villagers that does not come from financial wealth or possessions. It comes from within and from the security of belonging.
Living in the West, and especially in Canada, I recognize I am very priviledged - we have all the resources we need and even though our family is not "rich" we are so beyond wealthy by comparison to two thirds of the world.
Consider how and when you measure your happiness to possessions and financial security. Write or draw something to represent when you experience happiness that is not related to any form of financial security or possession. For example the happiness that comes from walking with the sun on your face, from walking along the trail, from seeing flowers in their natural habitat, making love, hugging your children. If you write this find a picture to go with it and if you make a picture write or find some words to describe the feeling of happiness.
When complete date, sign and keep this with the lists and other images you have made so far.
Time to record successes and challenges.....
Managing my earlier grumpies by giving myself a time out at the coffee shop
Cooking a roast dinner
Completing my "stats" at work (most disliked task)
Not getting to curves
Public transport - kept "missing" buses today
Making time to write
Quote for today....
has moved and will appear at the top of the page from now on.