It is supposed to be Blog Action Day today dedicated to the issue of “poverty”. It is a day when when bloggers commit to write about and bring awareness to poverty. The thought of being poor, or financial stress has been on our mind lately, since my husband just lost his job. Being poor is not something that scares me, since I am of the attitude “been there, done that“. The reality of not being able to provide for your kids though is a separate issue. It is true that having kids does throw a wrench in the works. I grew up poor, dirt poor. Poor enough that my siblings frequented trash cans and my mom “gave” me to her sister to take care for 6 months as she was too poor to provide milk for me as a newborn. I hated being poor and I wanted out badly. I remember finding ways to try and “earn” money as a kid. Selling ice pops made of sugar and food coloring (I could not afford juice) to neighborhood kids by the age of 10. I also remember with utmost clarity asking my mom once to buy an ice-cream cone as the ice-cream truck passed by. I can still see her eyes look at me as she told me that she had no money. I recall wanting to insist, but realizing that she honestly had no money. I never ever asked for ice-cream or anything from that day on. I focused on making my own money by studying hard and staying focused. Education is a powerful tool to equip one to creep out of the trenches.
Poverty can strip so much (yes it builds character too, but not easily). It is said “when poverty comes through the door, love flies out the window”. It is true that when the basic needs of life are not met, everything else is immaterial. I recall a “project” in South Africa called a “Bibliathon” run by F.W. De Klerk, the then President of South Africa (I still can’t get over him winning a Nobel Peace Prize, and worse still, sharing it with Mandela), which used tax dollars to “put” a bible in every hand. He did not care whether you were of other faiths in the land and did not care that poverty was (and is) such an issue in South Africa. How is putting a book of faith, (any faith) into the hands of a hungry child helping him? Give the poor food, and also an education (or at least an opportunity at one) so he can take care of himself.
What, if any, is your experience with poverty? Has the downturn in the economy hit you or someone you care about?