Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Why Everyone Should Visit a Developing Country.

Two gorgeous Cambodian kids proudly showing us a spider that they caught!

I think that everyone can learn something from developing countries.

Yup, that's right, in my opinion, developed countries should take a leaf out of developing countries books.

What made me think this?

Two years ago I travelled to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Let me tell you, it was a life changing experience, but maybe not for the reasons that you thought.

Yes, it was a shock to see rubbish lying around, power lines that were out of control, houses made of styrofoam boxes, corrugated iron, bamboo, coconut leaves and anything they could get their hands on, the Mekong River that was used for washing, cleaning and drinking, popping squats over toilet seats, no footpaths and side curbs, and all that jazz that we take for granted here in Australia.

 It was easy to feel "sorry" for them, because of the way that they lived. BUT when you looked past those things, you saw the true beauty of these places, and the HUGE smiles on the locals faces.

The houses along the Mekong.

While we were on a long boat, speeding along the Mekong in Cambodia to see the sunset, I asked our tour guide, "are these people happy?"

 Without blinking an eyelid he replied "of course - they have their homes, their family and their health, what more could they want?"

Some of the sights we saw along the Mekong in Cambodia.

It was in that moment that I thought about what I would say if a Cambodian came to Australia and asked me the same question "are these people happy?" (as they looked around them seeing us in nice cars, HUGE houses and dressed in flashy clothes). 

Little children would wrap snakes around their necks and beg for money.

It got me thinking, what constitutes happiness? What should we all aspire to? Are we any happier if we are surrounded by nice things?

Are developed countries happier then developing countries?

I think you'd find that many Aussies who have flashy cars and nice homes are up to their eyeballs in debt and probably stressed out of their brain about making their next mortgage repayment. 

Should we feel sorry for developing countries or should developing countries feel sorry for us?

What developing countries worry about and appreciate.

What developed countries worry about and appreciate.
Or maybe, just maybe, developed countries have learnt to love what they have, and aren't always thinking that the grass is greener if I had such and such.

What do you think?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx


Marianna Dunn said...

I love this! And have actually been asking myself some of the same things lately!

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across your page and read your blog entry. It left me with a few questions. What does your definition of a developing country comprise of? Are you including BRIC countries, or choosing to focus on countries based on GDP per capita or poverty levels. If it is related to poverty levels, would your thoughts apply to the many people living in poverty in the United States, the UK, and other developed countries?

I was also surprised that you rated education as something valued by developed countries, but not by developing countries. Education is highly valued in developing countries, often more so than in developed countries - look at Malala Yousafzai. Mortgage equivalents are also a challenge for people across the world, but as people will not have the collateral to borrow from banks, they instead will rely on other forms of credit (sometimes at a very high cost from loan sharks). I imagine this would be a huge stress.

I read that you went to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam two years ago. Did you speak to people from different class backgrounds/ ethnicities/ localities? Each experience varies vastly, as does what happens in each country. Cambodia, for example, suffers from high levels of child trafficking and sexual exploitation. Thailand witnesses the exploitation of Burmese refugees. Vietnam sees intense censorship and persecution of people who write blogs, like yourself. There is a lot more depth to the social context of any country, whether developing or developed, than your article suggests.

Anyway, just some food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

Kirsty Arnold said...

Dear anonymous, thanks for your comments. I guess I just wrote the post based on my observations and conversations with our tour guide who we spent 4 days with.

Your comments made me go back to my travel journal and look up the name of a burmese guy who I spent 3 hours talking to on a boat trip in Thailand. We discussed all different things like the poverty in burmia, education and how his children, and many others can only afford to go to school until year 6 but how of course, the parents wished they could send them for longer, the corrupt government and much more.

I guess it was just an eye opener to see how little these people had compared to my life in Australia, yet how happy they still seemed.

Anonymous said...

tremendous issues here. I?