Monday, September 30, 2013

Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff

It was only after experiencing the abundance of stuff in the United States that Simon Okelo learned to value life with less, the way he grew up.


Instead of being attracted by anything that is on sale, I find myself thinking how fortunate I am to be in a place where there are so many options. I also feel lucky that I am likely the only person from Manyatta in any Costco store in the world at that moment. Such reminders make me appreciate my purchases and use them sparingly, because I find joy in simplifying my lifestyle. I don’t aim to match the living standards in Manyatta or to live up to the expectations of society in Seattle—I actively practice being conscious about my choices.
Memories of my childhood help—like my neighbors enjoying a cup of water after a long wait, taking each sip as if it were the most delicious and expensive drink in the world. Like them, we could savor our possessions, share what we don’t need, and take pleasure from others’ enjoyment. Consuming just enough.

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