It’s embarrassing to admit that an ongoing conversation in our household over the past month has focussed on the

inconvenience of our bin refuse collection. You see, our local Council have recently introduced a system where rubbish and recycling are now collected on alternate weeks, rather than the weekly refuse collection we used to have.

Now, this bi-weekly collection of rubbish was already causing enough controversy in our family. There are 6 of us in our household and we quite often have a few extra guests. And extra guests create extra rubbish. And Samuel still uses nappies, and they take up a whole lot of room in the bin. And blah de blah de blah. So quite often the bin is overflowing before the 2 weeks is up.

Anyhow, over Christmas we happened to forget the re-scheduled bin collection day. And so we’ve been left with uncollected rubbish for a whole month. There’s not an inch of room in the bin so we’ve resorted to putting our rubbish in small bags and then taking them out to a public bin.

And this, it would seem, is a major inconvenience.

When I lived in India we either burnt our rubbish or we took it to town with us to throw in the public bins. Admittedly, we didn’t pay council tax for a refuse service but that was life, and we just got on with it.

And when I wanted a cup of tea I would have to boil up the milk and the water to make sure it was safe to drink. We would wash our fruit and vegetables in water with a touch of bleach to make sure it was clean. When I wanted a shower I would boil up water and pour it into a large bucket and “bucket-wash”.

josiah india

And we would always check the sugar, flour and rice containers for ants and other interesting insects before consumption. That was just life. And we just got on with it. And it was a substantially easier life than so many of the street-dwellers.

But it’s so easy to forget that life I once lived, and to get caught up in first world problems. (Definition from Urban Dictionary: Problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at )

In fact this clip gives some great insight into first world problems.

I talked to my friends in Burundi the other day. And I was reminded again of the privileges we take for granted: the healthcare we receive, the cars we drive, the homes we live in, amongst so many others.

This isn’t about feeling guilty for what we have. But rather, acknowledging and being thankful for what we do have and allowing God to speak to us about how we share what we’ve been given.

Do you catch yourself speaking out first world problems? What’s your response?

Posted by anna

3 thoughts on “#firstworldproblems

  1. I still clearly remember flying out to Calcutta just after graduating from Uni with a head full of ideas about what I ‘needed’ now that I was in the big world – new hi-fi etc. After 24 hours in Calcutta somehow they all seemed irrelevant. Another great blog and loved the video clip. So sad that it’s true.


  2. So true. There was a small commotion in our family yesterday when the kids’ burgers came not only with no pickles but no cheese! As someone who grew up in the Third World, I would so like to give my kids the experience of not living in the first world with its “fake” problems.


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