15 October, 2008

It's Blog Action Day: Poverty

So how do you write a post about poverty? Isn't that like saying write a post about the sun or water or injustice?

Poverty: the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions (merriam-webster).

Poverty - being without even the basic necessities, being without the tangible and intangible (opportunity, security, freedom, etc.) - being without enough. (me).

I did a post at work today about water, and so it is lingering in my mind. If we don't use it for our next e-letter I will post it here. But...Water. To me not having access to clean water is about as impoverished as you can get. Being in poverty is being without access to the most basic of needs.

In Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs food, water and shelter are the most basic. In our society where we have to quantify and sort everything - we have set the base of making less than $1 or $2 a day for poverty. But that is an unfair assessment because poverty is more than the amount you earn.

Poverty can be physical, emotional or even spiritual. Poverty is the lack of enough. And enough is the ability to survive and thrive. It's not wealth or having it all or not wanting - it's enough. Some can do much with nothing and some can do nothing with much.

But we are called to discuss poverty and the forms it takes. We are to care about those who do not have - who cannot even get a clean glass of water - because we are all connected. And so, for one to s
uffer while another lives in opulence is to me a even greater misdeed.

Poverty - it won't be "solved" when everyone lives like Jennifer Aniston, but when people live with enough. When I give up some so you can have enough. When we realize our actions in the "first" world make it a lot harder for those in the rest of it. When we realize we should stop to speak with those who make us uncomfortable, stuck in situations we don't understand. When we acknowledge that blame gets us nowhere - and instead of resting on what divides us we should rely on what connects us.

Can poverty be eradicated? Probably not (that's my realist side coming out). But by drilling wells and supporting microfinance institutions, examining how our government spends money and how it's really used/disbursed and doing our part and helping those hurting in our community, we can make a dent in it - and who knows who you will help and what they will do...

We are all connected and what happens to one can affect us all...


The opposite of poverty is not wealth. The opposite of poverty is enough...
(Wess Stafford)







Oh, and if you have time go to this page and scroll to the list of blogs on the right. Find the Interested in Aid Work? list - half way down is my other blog Let Them Have Faces. It's humbling to be listed on a site I respect a lot and read faithfully. Thanks Peter!



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