‘We’re not sunk in perpetual misery with flies buzzing round our diseased faces,’ pointed out Rebecca Ngala, mother of four. ‘But neither are we ‘Poor but happy’. The truth is that I have good days and bad days. Some days I am happy. Other days I feel down. Sometimes the children behave well, sometimes they don’t. I like it when the weather is good. I don’t like it when the weather is bad. Sometimes life feels meaningless. Other days it feels good to be alive.’
Western researchers are investigating Ms Ngala in the hope of adding new categories to their analyses of poor people.