After moving to South Africa, it has amazed me to see just how much we take for granted in the UK. In Western culture, it is so easy to see that we expect all of our wishes to be made into reality in the blink of an eye; but life just doesn’t work like that. It pains me to say it, but I have realised just how selfish the Western culture is and how much I personally took for granted whilst living in the UK.
In the UK, we are so lucky to be able to have free healthcare and education. And I know that this is something that EVERYBODY goes on about when we say that we have so much in the UK, but seriously, it is such a blessing! Here in South Africa, both have to be paid for and it is not cheap; it is actually really expensive just to send your kids to school, let alone have enough Medical Aid to be able to cover the cost if someone falls ill and needs medical attention. So to have the British government go on about taking away the NHS is ridiculous! We are so lucky to be able to access what we can so to take it away would just push the UK further and further into poverty, away from what the country is striving for. It is something we really take for granted if you live in the UK.
I wouldn’t really think about going for a walk on my own here in South Africa, just because I would be at risk of being mugged, or worse. Yet, in the UK, we can quite easily go for a walk all afternoon on our own and we would be perfectly safe. It is so easy to take this for granted in the UK because we just think, “well, why can’t I go out on my own?!” But there is just a higher level of safety over in the UK, which means it makes it easier for us to do things by ourselves. Again, this is something that you have to be much more concerned about here in South Africa.
- Wifi speed.
Yes, there is a very good wifi connection here in South Africa and you can also get a good 3G signal. However, if a technology nerd came from somewhere like the UK or the USA to South Africa, then there would be havoc. It would be way too slow of a connection for them to be able to even function. So, although a fairly trivial thing, as some may think, the wifi speed is definitely something that we can quite easily take for granted in the UK.
- Free weekends.
If you are really into your sport here, which most people are, then you will often find yourself at school at the weekend because you will have sports games to play, or even training to do. Yes, school on a Saturday is not unheard of at all. And even if you don’t play a sport, you will still, most likely, go and watch the games being played; obviously you have to be in your school uniform too! So, there is often something you will have to do at the weekend here; it isn’t really free. This is something completely different to the UK, particularly when thinking about the attitude there would be surrounding it.
So, although there may be some fairy godmother granting all of the wishes of those in the West, there is a huge difference between that and somewhere like South Africa. We take so much for granted in the UK. This blog post is not me saying that I am the perfect person because I don’t take anything like this for granted, because I know that whilst living in the UK, I did. And, if I am being completely honest, if I move back to the UK, I will probably fall into the trap of taking it all for granted once again. But after living in South Africa for a time, it is easier to recognise how selfish the Western culture can be and it makes me aspire to help people see how much we have as a country. I love the UK, and I love South Africa. Both countries have different qualities that make it the place it is. But, the selfish attitude of the West makes me think that there is something that needs to change. So, I don’t want to be the person who takes everything for granted anymore. Needless to say that my eyes have been opened to see the things that really matter in the world, rather than a slow internet connection.