Thursday, March 26, 2009

True Poverty

Sanema children waiting outside of our clinic in the jungle.

I know our economy is in trouble. Frankly, I expect it will get worse and with the policies of spending that the current administration is putting into practice, even our children and grand children will suffer from it. But, I am concerned that many of us have no concept of true poverty and suffering.

I hear people claim sacrificing their trips to the theater, now they only rent movies to watch at home. Others have parked the second or third car, or are choosing to drive a smaller car and park the SUV in their double car garage, which is full of things they no longer even remember having purchased. Or taking a smaller cable plan, shopping for clothing at Wal mart or Target instead of at the Mall.

I do not mean to imply that things are not messed up by our American standards and even my own family members have had a hard time lately, but even the poor in our country are wealthy by most standards.

Next time you feel depressed about your economic situation, just remember these Sanmea indian children in the photo. They are starving. They live in the dirt. They wear a cast off rag, if that. If they are female, they will be married off at 8, 10, or 12 years of age. That is if they survive to that point.

Once married, they will bear children until no longer able or they will die of disease and exhaustion. If another man contests the right of her ownership, she may be part of a 'girl pull'. She will be expendable as each man and his clan will pull the girl, as in a tug of war, to claim her. Often she will literally be torn asunder.

I know this may not be popular, but, maybe this generation of Americans needs to experience a bit of financial difficulty to rebuild our national fiber of courage and hard work, each man providing for his family without the help of the government or spending money on credit which they do not have.The best way to appreciate something is to earn it through your own sweat.

Newly weds live in mansions. We used to have to work a few decades to get the home we dreamed of. New families have houses full of new furniture which no one uses as they are too busy working to pay for it, or entertaining them selves elsewhere.

From the view of someone who has lived in a third world country most of my life, I find it amazing to see the supposed 'poor' who manage to eat enough to be obese. How is that?

We need to confront the crisis head on and not think we can let the next generation deal with it. Americans are not supposed to be like that. Our forefathers were made of stronger stuff. Where did we lose our fortitude as a nation? Where is the individual drive to work hard and produce something better for our kids? Why are we not teaching that to our children? We need to let the kid learn what work is and the importance of self sufficiency.

Yes, sometimes our neighbors need a helping hand and we should be there to offer that helping hand in times of real need. We as individuals need to be charitable, not the government! The government is bankrupt and lacks the morality needed to even know how to honestly distribute truly needed aid, but when people or institutions speculate and fail causing their own bankruptcy, why do we need to bail them out of the problem they created for themselves? How will they learn? If continually rescued they will only do so again, and again.

I know most of the people who read my blog are not slackers and are hard workers. I am not directing this at those of us who are doing our part. I'm just confused and a bit bewildered at times, wondering where my country went! What happened to our values? Did we really become so shallow as a people to not proudly roll up our sleeves and tackle this problem?

Just sayin'...

How old do you think these children are?

(They are 4 and 5 years old)


Brenda said...

I have often thought the same things you are saying. I once saw an article in Newsweek with a picture of what a family on Welfare could afford. There were many things in that picture that we could not afford to buy because my husband was getting a graduate degree.

Poverty is real, but its so much more than not having enough. It has to do with attitudes and values and oppression.

On the flip side, I see a lot of generosity in these hard times, people reaching out to others and recognizing how thin the line really is between the "haves" and the "have nots".

Pam said...

Right on!

Betty said...

This is so true Rita! My heart aches for those children you describe! That really brings things into perspective....

Ken, Christie, Camille, Caroline said...

I agree and wonder as well, where did my country go? I believe it was assasinated by entitlement programs. It is time to prioritize. Thanks Rita---Ken

Findalis said...

Well said as usual Rita. It is time that we should remember what poverty truly is.

Bob said...

Tell us! I am guessing three?

Pam--in Estonia said...

Very well said!

The children look like they couldn't be more than 18 months old, but considering their conditions, I'll guess 3 years.

redneck preacher said...

My granddad taught me which roadside weeds were good eating. I sort of figured out that if I never got to the point of sending the kids out to gather roadside weeds I was doing alright. The 30s built the strength needed to beat the Japanese Empire and the Third Reich.

Maybe Obama's civilian defense force will help.


Sarah Joy said...

I hear you! We really don't know what poor means.
We gripe about bills for heating, food budget, and medicine costs, (for life threatening problems) but have we ever had to decide which ONE of these things we would get?

I'm guessing the babies are four?

Liz said...

So, how old? Usually they are underweight and not tall enough, thus they look younger.

Jane said...

You are absolutely correct. We, Americans, do not know severe poverty. Yes, there are poor people here and there are hungry children but nothing like what you are talking about here.
It makes my heart hurt to see this. But this is why we serve isn't it?
As for the age of the children. They look like they are around 3 or 4 but I imagine they are older.

Anonymous said...

Well, I see your point, Jungle Mom. And you know I respect what all you are doing down there.

But for those men here who have lost their home, and can't put their kids in college, and can't pay their bills, I expect they are about as miserable as those indians. And truly, from your description, the Indians seem like a bunch of savages. That girl pull thing is obscene. Where's the law down there when that is going on? I guess there just isn't any, but that's savage and that's all there is to it.

Jungle Mom said...

Hermit, You describe the people who truly do need help which is why we are to be charitable. I am just upset that so many who are not deserving seem to be the ones getting 'bailed out'.
My own son has had to drop out of school for a year because there is no way to pay for it and he and has wife were financially fine last summer and are only now getting some relief from the pressure of losing jobs.
My brother and nephew have had to go out of state to find work.
We receive our mission salary through he generosity of church members and we too are feeling a tight pinch due to a decrease in offerings.
But I think we the people can do a better job at taking care of ourselves and each other than the government.
And you are right, the Sanmea tribe is truly barbaric in so many ways. Man kind at its most base form make son appreciate our Judeo/Christian heritage!

MightyMom said...

good post darling!

I always think about the woman on TV right after Katrina who said "We's been knowing POVERTY here in New Orleans!" And how pretty her fake hair was, as well as her fake and perfectly manicured nails...oh and the fact that she weighed in at 250 MINIMUM...........

just sayin.

Tammy said...

Those little ones remind me of some of the children here in Guatemala. They are so small, so underweight. My children look like giants next to their peers.

Most Americans have no idea what it really is to be poor. People on welfare moan and groan about their circumstances... I've seen those obese "poor" people, too. Isn't that something?

People in foreign countries who know the arrogance and whininess of Americans wonder at it. It is one of the reasons that many love America, but hate Americans.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your son, it's hard times true enough for just about everybody.

I agree we could take better care of ourselves if the government wasn't sucking the life's blood out of everybody. I just wrote a check for $3000 to the federal government for taxes, on top of everything else I withheld this year. Two of the three people in the office make a lot more money than I do. One of them got a big refund and the other only had to pay $800. That's how "fair" the tax code is, and the government is the outfit that takes your house or just kills you if you don't pay. If some thug came into the office and demanded money for nothing, that's criminal . But when the government does it, that's "law."

Those indians need a little more instruction on right and wrong.

"Underneath the starry flag,
civilize them with a Krag."

Anonymous said...

Great point.

Anonymous said...

i often like to research items i see..

can't find anything on the "Sanmea".

can you direct me?



MK said...

A timely post and a timely reminder JM.

Yes, things are difficult, but there are many out there in the real world who have it far tougher.

Too many in the western world have grown soft, fat, ungrateful and downright whiny, like small petulant children.