Unlock the value in your attic and change someones life…
A few weeks ago I was skipping between different social accounts, twitter, Facebook, email, Messenger, Whatsaap whilst trying to listen to the news, not let my morning eggs burn and attempting to plan what Legs4Africa jobs I had to do for the rest of the week. I was left feeling drained, confused, stressed and hungry… (The eggs burned after all).
When I was little, I would look to the future and imagine life being a utopia of voice activated computers, easy living and more time to do what we want and, by jove, we got all of that, however, rather than making life better, people experience more anxiety, an inability to focus and, in my case at least, an obsessive need to check social media and whether someone has commented on this blog post… Why haven’t you commented on this blog post?!
This is hardly surprising when we are told, if not indoctrinated, that possession of more ‘things’ means more happiness. Each day, we find ourselves bombarded with adverts for things that we don’t really want through mediums we don’t really need and,, damn it all if we don’t fall for it. Of course I need the latest smart phone, it means I can.. Um, call people better? Get more texts from that pretty girl I met down at the gym?… That’s a joke, I don’t go to the gym…”
We are sold the lie that our lives will be far better with these items, we will become as hansom or pretty as the models advertising the products. We will gain super hero like abilities if only we shell out several hundred pounds for something that, if we’re honest, we’ll use a few times, get annoyed with and then consign it to some draw or cupboard, to be found in years to come and sniggered at for it’s ridiculous claims and out of date styling.
When you have a low income, such as people in many west African countries, it simply isn’t possible to go out and buy the latest iPhone, because it is just so expensive (about twice the annual wage of an average Gambian). Of course, poverty is a terrible thing which can lead to very real problems such as poor health, dangerous living conditions and lack of education. And yet, there is a lot to be said for countries where consumerism isn’t at the heart of its culture.
The biggest lesson from Africa was that life’s joys come mostly from relationships and friendships, not from material things. I saw time and again how much fun Africans had with their families and friends and on the sports fields; they laughed all the time. Andrew Shue, an American actor with a passion for Africa.
So I ask you, dear reader, do you need all of those things that lurk in your wardrobe, that haunt your attic to make you happy?
Of course, I appreciate that I am a hypocrite as I type this on my MacBook air… Hey wait, I couldn’t write something nearly as good on a budget laptop, or even a type writer, why do you think all the old authors were so rubbish, like dickens, Hemingway, Shakespeare etc… It’s because they didn’t have a back lit keyboard, less portability than a pen, the distraction of internet access and the excitement of worrying where the next bump of charge is going to come from.
Okay, I am a hypocrite, but I’m trying. I now remove distractions from my life, addictive and pointless games from my phone, old landslides of gadgets from the back of draws and closets and, because here at Legs4Africa, we don’t believe in throwing things away, I’m repurposing them by selling them to make a little cash and space in my life for the things that are actually important to me.
Simplify your life, make space for the things that actually make you happy and, because this all comes back to our work in Africa, why not put some of that unused clutter on eBay, make a little money to take your family out, too go and see a friend you’ve not seen in a long time and, whilst you’re at it, donate a portion of your proceeds to Legs4Africa and help change a life by giving someone the opportunity to walk.