“Being alive is being wealthy”. Uummmm… Really?
It is tempting to think that this thought is not true. But as with many things deriving from the Akomdo (the life philosophy of the Beti, a Bantu subgroup), we must not take it literally. Obviously, poverty exists and there will always be some people who are rich while others endure misery, deprivation and hardship. But the Akomdo encourages all human beings, regardless of their material situation, to appreciate the free, yet enriching, fulfilling and rewarding things that life has to offer. For instance, true love, genuine friendship, and parental affection are all free. No amount of money can buy them, and no material possession, however valuable, can fill the void and the sensation of emptiness we feel when we lack these things.
This does not mean that if we are penniless, we must not strive to become rich and acquire material possessions. Nevertheless, in our quest for material comfort, we must be careful not to lose our humanity. We must always bear in mind that wealth is not an end in itself, but a tool to help us serve humanity better.
Being alive is being wealthy because regardless of our circumstances, we are all inheritors of something that is far more precious than material wealth: the love, work and commitment of the people who came before us. Whatever we do, whatever our aspirations are, we must always remember that the ultimate purpose of our existence is to cherish, improve and pass on this legacy.
By Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell