A 5th-World Country. Poor and Rich.

african hutFirst world: highly developed, industrialized, westernized.

Second world: communist, industrialized.

Third world: still developing, usually high infant mortality, lots of poverty.

Fifth world: Just plain ancient. Primitive, no infrastructure, economically poor.

“5th World”. This seems to be a term coined by people traveling to what they THINK is a third world country and who instead find something dramatically different. They discover a world where most ways of life have stayed almost the same for thousands of years. My friend, Jerre, traveled to such a place in Africa this summer.

Remember the story of Abraham being visited by two angels and the Lord and how he served them? The meal he had prepared of freshly killed goat which he served them outside his tent was eaten thousands of years ago. On a mat outside her host’s tent my friend went back in time as her host, with able hands, chopped up their goat, tossing the horns over her shoulder to the path behind.

I always feel sad for people without adequate necessities. So I was so happy to hear, before any reports of poverty, that these people were rich as well.

Primitive in so many ways, these people were rich in certain things. According to my friend, they abounded in, “fellowship, community, smiles, sharing with others, guavas, bananas, bread,  and simplicity.”  Without media, they know their neighbors. Life requires hard work, but it is often work with a neighbor by your side. For believers, worshipping is a three-hour time to dance, sing, learn and share.

Being poor in certain things, like medical care and adequate water and food, is real suffering and it is natural for us to wonder how we can help people who have “less” than us. But it is good to remember that God gives blessings to all and that we have things to learn from all our global neighbors…lessons in sharing and in listening, in fellowshipping, and hospitality. Sometimes I wonder how I would ever make it without my washing machine or dishwasher. It is a happy thing to know that we can be rich in love, fellowship, and smiles, even without the comforts of the modern world.

2 thoughts on “A 5th-World Country. Poor and Rich.

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