Friday, June 13, 2014

Hasta luego, first world.

For your viewing pleasure, here is a video of first world "problems" as read by third world people.

This video does for me exactly what it is likely designed to do:
1.  It makes me feel guilty.
2.  It inspires me to live a life reflective of this knowledge.

Regardless of what this video does for you, I thought a little bit of education on the three "worlds" would be helpful, since I, myself, didn't know the origin of the meaning until about two weeks ago.

It all stems back to the Cold War.  Bet you didn't know that, huh?  (Unless you did, in which case, you are smarter than me).

First world: Basically developed, CAPITALIST, industrialized countries; mainly the US, Western Europe, Japan and Australia.
Second world: Basically the COMMUNIST/SOCIALIST countries; includes Russia, Eastern Europe, some of the Turk countries, and China.
Third world: EVERY OTHER COUNTRY, which pretty much includes all of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

That's not exactly how we use these terms, is it?  I've been to Russia, Eastern Europe and many socialist countries, and they don't feel second world.  Most people regard the worlds as "rich, not so rich, and poor."

There are other ways of describing countries that better encompass the ideas behind these terms.  The new terms are "developed" versus "developing."  But even the United Nations reports that there is not a set way of defining these terms.

The World Bank, however, classifies countries into one of four groups:
Low income countries: Gross National Income per capita of $1,026 or less.
Lower middle income countries: GNI per capita between $1,026 and $4,036.
Upper middle income countries: GNI per capita between $4,036 and $12,476.
High income countries:  GNI per capita above $12,476.

Whichever way you choose to "classify" countries honestly doesn't matter.  Sometimes I think classification systems just makes it easier to separate ourselves from the things we don't want to think about.  We can detach ourselves from the proverbial "them" so that we don't have to do anything about it.  Despite the technology available in this day and age, one of the biggest problems with the "first world," is that we have no idea how the rest of the world lives.  Maybe we are naively ignorant.  Maybe we are intentionally in the dark.  Maybe we know, but choose to do nothing about it.  Maybe we want to do something about it, but don't know how.

Regardless of how you classify the world, in less than 24 hours, I will journey from the comfortable wealth of Texas to the rural poverty of Guatemala.  Although this isn't my first mission trip, and not my first trip out of the country, this is my first medical mission trip, and my first trip to this particular area of Guatemala, so I honestly don't know what to expect.  But I do know that I will come back a changed person.

And that is my last piece of encouragement before I leave.  Find your passion, and let it change you.

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