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Can money by your happiness?

During the summer of my sophomore year in high school, I had the privilege of travelling to Ghana, Africa on a medical mission; a place I never thought would teach me such a great lesson in humility.  It’s not every day that someone like me gets to experience an event so life altering that one would never be the same. In my case, this alteration was the best thing that could have happened.  I started my journey with intentions of affecting many lives, but I never expected my life to change.

The very first thing I noticed when arriving in Ghana was the vibe by everyone that I encountered.  When was the last time you were around a hundred-plus people, and each and every one of them smiled at you and you felt the pure joy of life itself? The very moment we pulled into the village, all the kids swarmed the van, not in a violent way, but with such excitement and hope that it’s hard to describe. The look in their eyes was of pure happiness, gratefulness, and love when even given a simple wristband; it made me instantly fall in love with the simplicity.

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The majority of those who lived in the village were under the age of eighteen, did not have any form of health care and had some type of health deficiency. During the two weeks of the mission, I had the opportunity to work in their make-shift clinic with a stateside physician preparing medical profiles, testing for malaria, and assisting with diagnosing and treating general health issues. In addition, I observed two unforgettable procedures; one of which was a bone realignment of a nine-year-old girl without any anesthetics.  The other procedure was a joint aspiration of the oldest woman in the village who was one-hundred and nine years old. 

Despite the suffering, pain, and instability that these people were experiencing they were still so grateful for everything they had. Never have I seen people with so little be so happy. From that moment, I realized that money can’t buy happiness.

When I reflect on this experience it reminds me that as an American I am extreme blessed and highly favored. I have an obligation to be humble and great full for the things that I have. Too many times I see those with ample of money be frivolous with their riches. Unfortunately, I believe these people equate riches with happiness.

Though money may elevate some stress and some burdens it has the potential of adding unnecessary stressors as well. With this I say those who idolize and over value money should look at “The Other Life” of those who may not have as much and realize that their way of life holds value. There are things that those less fortunate have that we don’t. Maybe as “wealth” Americans we could learn from them. Just as I did when I experiences their way of live.

Humility and gratefulness are the keys to happiness not money.

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