It turns out that to feed a lovely crew of 12, along with our share of drinks and sweets, we spent the equivalent of 10 months salary of my gardener.
Wow, that really puts things in perspective. Filling the bellies of 12 people in one evening… added up to 10 months salary for an average Ghanaian?!
Besides feeling like a true Expat – in every spoiled sense of the word – it sparked my interested to take a look at the disparities that abound all around me.
Today I found out that the annual revenue for the entire country of Sierra Leone (one of Ghana’s close neighbors on the West African coast) is USD $96million.
Oprah Winfrey alone made over two and a half times that… OF AN ENTIRE COUNTRY!!! According to Forbes list she pulled in $275million over the same period.
Tiger Woods and Madonna also out-earned Sierra Leone, with over $100m each…
Here’s another eye opening fact. The list below is the GDP per capita (ANNUAL take home pay) of the average person in these countries:
Ten Poorest Countries (based on 2004 GNP per capita in US$)
1. Burundi ... $90
2. Ethiopia ... $110
3. Democratic Republic of Congo ... $110
4. Liberia ... $110
5. Malawi ... $160
6. Guinea-Bissau ... $160
7. Eritrea ... $190
8. Niger ... $210
9. Sierra Leone ... $210
10. Rwanda ... $210
All of these countries are in Africa, and each figure is less than I spend at the Supermarket (in Africa!) every Saturday. People are surviving (really?!) on $200 per year?!!!
I feel a gratitude list coming on, but also a reality check.
Oprah’s 55th birthday this year (celebrated with a Mediterranean cruise for 1700 of her closest friends), cost $10m.
Equivalent to the annual income of over 100,000 Burundians.
Now I don’t feel so bad.