Could you ever believe that a world leader could follow the mantra that the simple life is best?
Meet Joes Mujica - the world’s poorest president.
Joes Mujica Uruguay President (photo courtesy of MSN)
"I'm called 'the poorest president', but I don't feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more."
The president of Uruguay is not like most other world leaders. Rather than choosing to live in the grand official residence provided with his position, he decided to stay in the ramshackle farmhouse, a few miles outside Uruguay’s capital Montevideo, he shares with his wife and 2 dogs.
When not being president of Uruguay Jose and his wife work the land themselves.
"This is a matter of freedom. If you don't have many possessions then you don't need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself, I may appear to be an eccentric old man... But this is a free choice."
Jose Mujica also donates roughly 90% of his salary (US$12,000/£7,500) to charity, bringing his earnings in line with the average Uruguayan income of US$775/£485 per month.
Addressing the Rio+20 Summit in June 2012, the Uruguayan president said:
"We've been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty.
"But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household as Germans? How much oxygen would we have left?
"Does this planet have enough resources so seven or eight billion can have the same level of consumption and waste that today is seen in rich societies? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet."
It’s interesting isn’t it. That someone who has wealth at his finger tips chooses not to accept it. I’m sure it makes him feel more connected to his political roots, but more than that, as he says, he’s realised he doesn’t actually need any of the trappings of a supposedly successful life to be happy.
Being rich or poor is not about how much money or possessions you have - it’s about how content you feel, how much love you feel, how much happiness you have.
Tim - Real Camping Team
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