When I reflect on my recent visit to the Gambia, and on other trips to poor countries, I tend to gain some real perspective on my life. I'm left asking what will the future hold for the Gambian children in this picture? How many will survive to adulthood, have happy lives and achieve their dreams? None for sure, will have any of the opportunities I had when I was their age.
I can't help but feel extremely privileged to come from a part of the world where electricity, water and gas are all piped to my home, and where education is free for all children up to the age of 18.
Even healthcare (we pay our taxes) is free at the point of delivery to all British citizens (and of course to anyone else who is visiting the UK and gets taken ill) courtesy of the National Health Service. Hell, I even have broadband wifi in my house, and enough to feed and clothe my entire family. I'm very, very fortunate indeed. I have always been affected by the following scenario, ever since I first heard it several years ago. If you want some perspective on your life, read on....
If we could reduce the world’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, the demographics would look something like this:
Our village would be populated by 60 Asians, 14 Africans, 12 Europeans, 8 Latin Americans, 5 from the USA and Canada, and 1 from the South Pacific
51 would be male, 49 would be female 82 would be non-white; 18 would be white 67 would be non-Christian; 33 would be Christian 80 would live in substandard housing 67 would be unable to read 50 would be malnourished and 1 dying of starvation 33 would be without access to a safe water supply 39 would lack access to improved sanitation 24 would not have any electricity (and of the 76 that do have electricity, most would only use it for light at night.) 7 people would have access to the Internet 1 would have a college education 1 would have HIV 2 would be near birth; 1 near death 5 would control 32% of the entire world’s wealth; all 5 would be US citizens
33 would be receiving (and trying to live on) only 3% of the income of “the village”