Here in Ghana people smile. A lot. Even when the most frustrating and difficult challenges arise. I’ve heard it said, nearly every day, “What shall we do? Cry? No, it is better we smile and laugh. Why cry and get angry? What will that do?”

I hear this and I think, what a wonderful positive attitude. At the same time I wonder if it is hurting more than helping. Would some of the difficulties change if more people got upset and said something? Or would it simply be negative energy spouting off?

So far in 2 weeks I’ve witnessed piped water not working for weeks on end in Accra a city of 2 million. Imagine if the water in your city didn’t work for 3 weeks time. Imagine having to stay up all night long to collect the bit of rain water that fell during what is dry season. Imagine walking several miles with a 20 pound bucket of water on your head. And NOT complaining about it. Accepting it. Moving forward. Doing what you have to do.

Imagine not being paid at your job for 8 months. And still having the passion for the work to show up and Work Every Day. That is dedication. At the same time, does it allow for the system to continue “as is.” What if people Stopped going to work if they were not paid? Honestly, I am not sure what the answer is. I just know that I am inspired by the attitude here. And the “bigger picture” thinking. “If I don’t go to work at the library, then Who will help these children learn to read?” Indeed. Who?

So the next time you are complaining about something or the next time you have a problem, take a moment and reflect, is it Really a problem? Is it truly something to become upset about? Perhaps, it IS best to smile, laugh, and move on.

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