Friday, May 11, 2007

Where to raise your children

Lol, I really must be one of the greatest Niger-fans on this entire planet!

Today I read an article in the Swedish paper Aftonbladet, which stated that Sweden is the best country to live in if you are a mother.

At the bottom of the list was none other than Niger, in terms of insurance, health care, female life expectancy, education, financial inequality between the sexes, parental insurance (or lack of...?), female involvement in politics, child mortality rate etc... (The list was long).

Now, all this is true - and Sweden is really a comfortable place to bring up your children, and yet... there is no place on earth where I would rather raise my children than in Niger!

Copyright Eden Foundation 2007

Material wealth and security in all its honor, but the difference - for me - between Niger and Sweden is that in Niger, I have time. Time to think, time to spend with others, time to inspire and figure out what life is really about. Though I would probably be so much more efficient if I lived the rest of my days in Sweden, I never really feel as if I am "alive". Life in Sweden is so much about work, work and work. My tinnitus goes up, my neck muscles ache and my dizziness increases and I know it's only from the mental stress that I create in my mind.

So despite what the papers say, my choice is Niger. I am Swedish and I enjoy meeting all my friends and relatives there - and Niger is truly at times one of the most awkward places on earth, but there is a very special sincerity to it that I find precious and rare, and which I would like to pass on to my own children on day.

Now your turn!



hanna grönberg said...

Yes, but I don't really think you can compare your situation in Niger to the (poor) nigeriens' situation. I think it's a bit different to come from a western country with all the priviligies that includes, than to actually come from one of the poorest countries in the world. I agree with you about the stress up here though.

Ishtar said...

True Hanna, and my intention wasn't to criticize the report either, because life in Niger IS hard. But even if I compare life in Sweden with life in the villages of Tanout where Eden has been working for twenty years and where the children have enough to eat; they have life quality in a way that the Western World will never have. Should the question be put differently however and I would be asked to choose between living a life as the poorest Nigerien or a middle class Swede, I'd have to pick Sweden out of necessity, though not a heart choice.

Klara said...

I love ur Blog espec the cute pix u have here!
Will definately be back!! Thanx for droppin by mine

NIGER1.COM said...
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trailingspouse said...

I voted for US/Europe, although I reality my vote is for Canada (my home). I raised my son there until he was 9 and then we started on the expat life. I think he had the best of both worlds. A first world start (for health care and education) followed by exposure to, let's say, the less developed world, as we never lived anywhere as undeveloped as Niger. He's now back in Canada at university, but I think he has a much more open mind than many of his classmates.

You have a very interesting blog (in fact, a very interesting life!), Ishtar. I will visit again.

Ishtar said...

Hi trailingspouse! Nice of you to pop in and have your say!