In Barbara Kingslover's "The Poisonwood Bible," she tells the story of a family brought to the Congo in 1959 by their missionary father. It is told from alternating points of view of the four sisters and their mother. What stood out for me were the many hardships they faced, simply trying to stay alive and how their situation affected each of them differently, in most cases helping to build their characters for the better.
Here I am in my 1900 sq foot tract home, and I'm getting ancy and have been complaining because our A/C went out this weekend. The guy is coming out today to fix it, but I've been complaining because I'm feeling suffocated in my home where temperatures have shot up all the way to 84 degrees (it's 91 degrees outside today). Yet here is this family --albeit, fictional--who are living in the CONGO with NO CENTRAL AIR. They get to have the excitement of lizards climbing on the walls, worrying about black mambas and an ant attack that makes The Naked Jungle look like a cake walk. Mmmmm.... cake.