Two things are resting in my mind, and a third is growing.
A friend linked me to this post and a few days ago a westerner heading home made a comment about how tough spending time here is because of the way of life (not culturally, but in the "everything is broken" sense). I agree with both.
My first time to east Africa, some ten years ago, I regularly wrestled the desire to blow stuff up. When oppression wears the face of presidents, police, fathers, pastors, and tribal leaders (institutionalized and top down) it makes you think a clean slate is the only fix. I'm yet to see corruption benefit the corrupter in the long term. Yet, in so many settings, it is the coin of the day. The Bush boys, Obama, Clinton, Carter, and Reagan, regardless your political beliefs, would all resemble the stuff of Washington and Lincoln in most of the governments on this continent. We are truly privileged to be able to complain about the indiscretions and policies of Bush and Obama; though, Mandella lives well above both.
I'm not sure Westerners are blessed; we are certainly privileged. With minuscule exceptions, we were born with silver spoons. Contrary to popular white guilt/shame, this isn't our fault. Fault may belong to our ancestors, but that standard would condemn every people group throughout history. You can hate Bill Gates for his programs or actions, just don't hate him for his father or his money.
One reasons I'm grateful to be in Uganda has nothing to do with my spirituality, compassion, or "Super Christian" status, it contrasts these fictions. I'm grateful to be in a "challenging" and "broken" setting because I suck at Christianity, compassion, and spirituality. Believe me, if I was good at them, I'd be running a dive shop in the Caribbean, smoking Cubans, brewing beer, and fleecing tourists. I'm grateful to be here because "being here" forces me to depend on God, to depend on God's blessing rather than my privilege.
The people of the Beatitudes weren't blessed because of privilege or success. They were blessed because they were broken and they knew it. They were blessed because they knew they couldn't depend on themselves; they only had God. Who is closer to redemption and healing, the addict with a bankroll or the one flaming at the bottom?