Friday, October 14, 2011

thoughts on poverty

Since I have continued to read and think about poverty while I am here, I thought I would share a bit more.  Development expert Robert Chambers asserts that, "The materially poor are trapped by multiple, interconnected factors - insufficient assets, vulnerability, powerlessness, isolation, and physical weakness - that ensnares them like being caught in a spider's web."  

Steve Corbett adds to this with, "Imagine being caught in such a web.  Every time you try to move, you just get more hung up on another strand.  You think to yourself, Maybe this time will be different, so you try to make a change in your life.  But immediately you find yourself even more entangled than before.  After a while you come to believe that it is better to just lie still.  This is miserable, but any further movement only brings even greater misery.  You hate your situation but you have no choice."

Most of us from the "minority world" do not lead this type of life.  We grow up believing that we have potential, possibilities and options...  work hard and you can do anything.  (which I don't fully believe but it is the "mantra" of our world.)  Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen says it is this lack of freedom to be able to make meaningful choices - to have an ability to affect one's situation - that is the distinguishing feature of poverty."  (from "Development as Freedom)

It is obviously hard to come face to face with such profound poverty, and just carry on with one's life.  I want to be changed by experiences and be a more compassionate person.  More to ponder... and much to be grateful for.

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