I think it’s unfair to call Africa a “heck hole”. And I don’t think all Africans want to come over here and be Americans or Westerners.
Also, I think there’s something to be said about perspective. Sure, it’s easy to feel sorry for people who don’t have the luxuries we take for granted, but not having luxuries does not equate to poverty and misery. There are trade-offs and benefits living in any society. We have clean water and social security, but we have polluted air and stressful jobs. A typical Kenyan has a glorious view from their backdoor. Me, I have a traffic-filled street and a Publix grocery store staring back at me. We can’t quantify happiness in dollars and cents.* Happiness is an intangible thing.
I consider myself fortunate to have been born in a land of plenty and opportunity. I’ve been accostomed to my lifestyle; I can’t imagine a life where I don’t have things like clean water, fast food, and library books. I would’t want to give these things away. However, I’m not sure I would say that I’m glad I was born here versus another place. Americans don’t hold a monopoly on happiness. Africa is not hell. There are vibrant cultures there, and Africans live lives that are just as valuable and rich as those lived here. I’m just a powerless, anonymous singleton here in the US. Who knows what I could have been if I had been born in a small village, where everyone knows a family’s history and individualism plays second fiddle to community? My role in society would be different. My whole concept of self would be different. My concept of comfort would be different.
I might be happier living in a mud hut in Ghana than I am here. I’m sure there are many Africans who are happier than I am. So I can’t really say whether I’m better off here, even if I do have more money. All I can say is that I’m happy enough here.
*I had a Nigerian student one semester. He told me that he didn’t really like the US…it was too structured. In Nigeria, he said, every day is different. You don’t know what to expect from day to day. There is no alarm clock to wake up to, no rigid schedule to keep, no appointments to rush to. He explained to me that he thought we were all very boring and non-living. I’d never felt envious of an African before that moment.