Today, over 16000 bloggers Worldwide will discuss in unison the problem of Poverty in the World. Many will discuss the problem as an overview with education points on the problem. Many will offer solutions and opinions about solutions.
I did a little research and found out that the Worldwide standard for absolute poverty is based on a household earning $1 dollar a day. One US dollar. 30 dollars a month. $365.00 a year. Roughly, 25% of the World’s population live in this state of poverty.
It’s hard to fathom as an American that 25% of the World’s population live in a condition of having insufficient resources or income to provide themselves and their family basic human needs, such as adequate and nutritious food, clothing, housing, clean water, and health services.
Being poor can be living in poverty or being on the brink of poverty. In the United States, our idea of poverty doesn’t come close to the idea of Poverty in some Third World Country. We may consider our inability to purchase a new iPhone as being poor or underpaid; the idea of not being able to afford a bag of rice to feed our family for a week is unimaginable.
In recent weeks, our current economic crisis has come to the forefront of every news cycle. People can not get a loan for a new car. Stocks are tumbling. Real Estate investors who were “flipping” houses for profit, now face foreclosures on their investments. We worry about our retirement funds. But still, we fail to even think about a family in Africa who can not afford clean water or an adequate shelter to protect their newborn from the summer heat.
Today, I want us, as Americans, to at least change our thought process from how our economic crisis is affecting us, personally; and to give thought to our neighbors.
If you find it difficult to think about some obscure country halfway around the globe–then give thought to the poor in the United States.
For that, I reprint the article “Being Poor” from September 22, 2005.
Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.
Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.
Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they’re what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there’s not an $800 car in America that’s worth a damn.
Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.
Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours.
Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.
Being poor is living next to the freeway.
Being poor is wondering whether your well-off sibling is lying when he says he doesn’t mind when you ask for help.
Being poor is off-brand toys.
Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.
Being poor is hoping your kids don’t have a growth spurt.
Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your mom gets home and then telling her she doesn’t have to make dinner tonight because you’re not hungry anyway.
Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.
Being poor is feeling the glued soles tear off your supermarket shoes when you run around the playground.
Being poor is your kid’s school being the one with the 15-year-old textbooks and no air conditioning.
Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.
Being poor is relying on people who don’t give a damn about you.
Being poor is finding the letter your mom wrote to your dad begging him for the child support.
Being poor is a bathtub you have to empty into the toilet.
Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger’s trash.
Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see whether your kid saw.
Being poor is believing a GED actually makes a difference.
Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.
Being poor is not taking the job because you can’t find someone you trust to watch your kids.
Being poor is the police busting into the apartment right next to yours.
Being poor is not talking to that girl because she’ll probably just laugh at your clothes.
Being poor is hoping you’ll be invited for dinner.
Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.
Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk.
Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.
Being poor is your kid’s teacher assuming you don’t have any books in your home.
Being poor is $6 short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.
Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.
Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually stupid.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually lazy.
Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn’t bought first.
Being poor is picking the 10-cent ramen noodles instead of the 12-cent ramen noodles because that’s two extra packages for every dollar.
Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.
Being poor is knowing you’re being judged.
Being poor is a box of crayons and a $1 coloring book from a community center Santa.
Being poor is checking the coin return slot of every soda machine you go by.
Being poor is deciding that it’s all right to base a relationship on shelter.
Being poor is hoping the register lady will spot you the dime.
Being poor is feeling helpless when your children make the same mistakes you did and won’t listen to you beg them against doing so.
Being poor is a cough that doesn’t go away.
Being poor is making sure you don’t spill on the couch, just in case you have to give it back before the lease is up.
Being poor is a $200 paycheck advance from a company that takes $250 when the paycheck comes in.
Being poor is four years of night classes for an associate of arts degree.
Being poor is a lumpy futon bed.
Being poor is knowing where the shelter is.
Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.
Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.
Being poor is seeing how few options you have.
Being poor is running in place.
Being poor is people wondering why you didn’t leave.
Finally, believe me when I say, Being Poor in the United States pales in comparison to absolute Poverty in some un-named country…but if we refuse to care, refuse to act, refuse to even think about the possibility of where we are headed; then “Being Poor” becomes “living in poverty” for our neighbors and ourselves.