Okay my dears, this blog entry means a lot to me. Truly the entire blog “idea” does. Please know that I didnt start this because I think my life is so incredibly interesting I think people are lining up to read about it. I simply think others lives are being lived in a less than acceptable manor and want to shed light on it, I want to keep people (especially the people who have contributed) updated on our trip to Uganda, Africa, and most of all I want people to hear about my love for Jesus and how he not only HAS but it STILL in the process of transforming me into the person I want and he wants me to be.
So, hear it is, my rant about how I live a vanilla life. For those of you who don’t know (and don’t feel bad, I just learned as well) what “Vanilla” means I’ll tell you! Vanilla is indeed a type of ingredient for cooking, a scent of candle, and a flavor of pudding, however the way I am using it is meant to be as my life being less than eccentric and better than below average…its simple. Something I’m proud of! We do have a very nice house with 3 bedrooms and completely furnished, mostly with items I found at thrift shops and decorated with ideas I stole from pinterest.
Here’s the deal though, this “VANILLA” life I say I have truly is eccentric, lavish and over the top compared to the sweet people living in parts of Africa. For my blog purposes we are gonna focus on Uganda though, Oh my lovely Uganda. I said I wanted to shed a little light and here it is. The truth is the majority if not all Ugandans own one item of clothing which is the ragged, torn up, filthy item they wear daily. I however, in my simple vanilla life have 317 items of clothing (this isn’t a rough estimate I just counted) NOT INCLUDING my winter clothes that are in 3 plastic containers because of course I have no extra room in the two closets I take up as well as whatever clothes I might have in the dirty clothes hamper.
It’s kind of pathetic that one person needs…I take that back WANTS so many clothes. Just to add gas to the fire. while most Ugandans and people in Africa in general walk around on the hard, rocky, muddy ground barefoot every single day, I have 32 pairs of shoes. WHY do I need so many?!? It literally makes me sick to think that I currently have 32 pairs of shoes while there are 2,3,4,5,6 and on year old begging for food shoeless and practically naked. Why is this? Why do Americans feel okay (including me) with others, our neighbors being SO incredibly in need while we are so abundantly rich in material items. I’ll tell you why. Out of sight, out of mind. I don’t think for the most part Americans are okay with it I just think we don’t see it daily, Africa is so far away that its almost as though it doesn’t exist. I’m hoping to possibly bring light to a situation that is so hard for me. I might not make a HUGE difference but If I can make any difference then I will feel accomplished.
Back to my vanilla life. Woman in America have it good and I mean “Chuys or Chipotle” GOOD! If a man were to lay a hand on us we would be able to call the police and SOMEONE would care. We are able to make money for our families, we are able to become business entrepreneurs and be successful as well as buy land or a house at our own free will. I think so often we just think that gender equality is how is SHOULD be. And it should. However, In Africa 70% of men believe it is acceptable to beat their female spouse, what is even more heart wrenching is that 80% of woman believe the same. Woman in Africa have been taught for so long that they are worth absolutely nothing, that it is actually acceptable to have your husband beat you. Its horrible. To follow those horrible statistics here’s another one to throw at you. Woman in Africa own less than 7% of the land yet make up 80% of the labor force!! So basically the woman are good enough to work to earn the money but are not worth enough to actually be able to own anything. Can you imagine if woman were treated like this in America??
My husband and I don’t make great money but we do make good enough money. But compared to statistics we are RICH!!! if you make more than 35K a year you are in the top 4% in the world and good heavens if you make 50K you, my friend are in the top 1% in the world!!! Half of the global population makes less than $2 a day.
All I’m saying here is just take a step back and evaluate your needs and wants. I mean do you REALLY need that new shirt or necklace? I think our society has become to wrapped up in wants, sadly mainly to impress others or to remain at a certain “status”. Please know my intentions are not to make you feel guilty for enjoying the nice things in life. We all work hard and deserve them but with that little extra, give it away. It doesn’t have to be to Africa ( that’s just where my heart is) give it to a charity, tithe it, give it to a homeless shelter. If you have none to give, donate time. Time to feeding the homeless, time to a non-profit, time to someone other than you. Because the fact is, if we were in need we would HOPE someone would have the heart to give the little extra they had. The less fortunate have nothing, if they see someone go out of there way to help them they start to believe.
I think it is so easy to be comfortable in our vanilla lives that really aren’t so simple, they ARE extravagant. I am as bad as the next person when It comes to wanting more and having it all, as I have my iphone sitting next to my swanky macbook pro laptop while sitting at our gorgeous desk in my comfy house all while my DOGS are doing this…
I mean really, my dogs live a better life than most Ugandans. Im going to help in Africa because I have fallen in love with this place that I have yet to visit. But help where you can.
The truth is my vanilla life and your vanilla life are blessings. Blessings from a selfless god that gave His life to give us a BETTER life so shouldn’t we spend just a portion of our life improving the life of another? Think about it.