Welcome to this post by my friend JDH. She’s a virtual writer in residence at the Writers Wrest and it’s so great to be able to publish her writing. Her wonderful creation “When do you like to do it, and who cares whose cheese it is anyway?!” has been a very popular blog post. Thanks for sharing your writing again JDH, especially on a topic that needs to be present in our conversations.
Of late, a couple of things have happened. The first happened a few months ago when a friend asked this: if it’s true in what they say when they report that somewhere between 17,000- 23,000 people die daily from not having enough to eat – Who are they? And where do they bury so many?
Her questions sent me on a journey in an attempt to find answers. My research found article after article. However, I could find no clear cut answers. Not the answers to her direct questions. What I found was information that most people already know: 12 people in Africa die every minute from hunger. 6.7 million People die each year in Africa from hunger. 396,000 people died in 2011 due to malnutrition. 94,000 people are dying every five and a half days in Africa from hunger. This was not what I was seeking. I was looking for testimonials. Stuff that makes it personal and not just a bunch of numbers. Cut to the core kind of information. Like the boy in the picture who portrays the look and thoughts of someone well beyond his years. Who holds at his head in utter despair. Like the girl who has eyes that tells you she has lived this life before and knows what is to become of her.
In a further effort for answers I did a little googling. Like most who search a topic, sometimes one stumbles onto other ‘stuff’. Such as – Living on the poverty line for one week. Living on $2.00 per day for two weeks. Living on the poverty line for a month – blogs of this nature. Some had taken on the challenge to raise money to donate towards the assisting of those who really do live on or below the poverty line. What is this about? Really. What. Is. It. About? Don’t get me wrong. I mean the raising of well needed funds is a commendable act. It is through such people that some are given a glimmer that there are people out there who care. People who actually have given the plight of others some thought. This living on or below the poverty line – What does it prove though? Does it solve anything? How has it changed the lives of those who really do live on the poverty line day in and day out? What practical change or changes has it brought about? What has it accomplished?
After reading several blogs I decided to retrieve the shopping docket from the previous fortnights shopping as I was curious as to how much is spent each fortnight on food in my household. Receipt in hand, all non- food items crossed off. Total $251.82, per fortnight for 4 adults. $4.49 per day per person. For $4.49 per day per person we eat rather well. Not only do we eat rather well, we have plenty, and we get all the daily nutrients that are required.
Yes. It is over the $2.00 per day. This got me thinking a little more though. One reason as to why my household can eat well on just over $4.00 a day is that we have a pantry that is reasonably stocked. Another reason is that we have the privilege and the luxury of having supplies in a freezer and fridge. You see, in reality we are not eating on or just over $4.00 per day. Nor are we living on this figure per day. When these ‘incidentals’ of a stocked pantry and fridge and freezer are thrown into the equation a shift takes place. This shift grows larger when we toss in a few ‘essential’ such as, toilet paper, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo etc? Strange phenomenon happening here. What of the weekly, fortnightly or monthly portion of the mortgage or rent, utilities, transport cost, the up keep and use of a vehicle perhaps? Not only do we now have a shift we have a gaping chasm.
Most (could I be so bold as to say, all) conscious thinking people know that it is impossible to survive on $2.00 per day. Just as most know that this whole living on or below the poverty line does not exist. That’s right. It does not exist. The $2.00 per day is a base line that was designed to be used as a measure to show a gap between the poorest of poor and the not so poor. It has never been suggested that people can or are able to survive or live on this measure (well, I hope it hasn’t) for we all know that it is an impossibility to do so. If any-one has suggested that people can survive on the figure given, then I say to them, trade places with the one you think and believe this is good enough for.
I never did find a suitable answer to my friend’s questions. I know her well enough to know that when she asked those questions, she wanted to know who they were as individuals. How they thought and how they dealt with their tribulations? Where did their resolve come from? She wanted to know, how does any-one place deal with so much death in any given time. I hope that she takes up the journey of discovery for herself someday. As for those who attempt to live on or below the poverty line, they too are seeking answers, I guess – through their journey. A journey of connecting, of understanding, and of bringing about an awareness to those around them, and to those out there in the www, such as myself. Without a doubt, from the funds raised some small change has occurred. The greatest accomplishment I see taking place through their efforts, is that of networking. By putting it out there…
The other thing that happened; in recent weeks my friend, Trish Jean, took up a seven day blogging challenge. Within her writings she would link to and made reference to, ‘Building Bridges’, a citizen-led initiative to help improve child survival. A blog by Matt Jones. She tells of how Matt’s journey began in 2010 when a plan was hatched to run 10 sub-marathons in 10 cities across 10 countries as a means to draw awareness to this conversation, culminating in a series of global Design Forum that commenced in February, 2015. ‘How might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?’ https://www.flickr.com/people/10citybridgerun/ In keeping in line with Trish’s ‘calling’, I too, implore you to check it out. It could be the place for you. It could well be the journey you are seeking. It could well be that you have that one thing, that one little thing, that will improve the delivery of child survival.
Poverty: is the principle cause of hunger. Lack of resources, unequal income distribution within the world, and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself. The World Bank has estimated that there is on average 1,345 million people in developing countries who live on less than $1.25 per day, and suggest that progress in poverty reduction has been concentrated in Asia, especially East Asia with major improvement occurring in China. However, in Sub-Sahara Africa, the numbers of those living in extreme poverty, has increased. Harmful Economic System: it is believed that the underlying cause of poverty and hunger is the ordinary operation of the economic and political system of the world. Control over resources and income is based on military, political, and economic power that generally ends up in the hands of a minority who live well, while those at the bottom barely survive, if at all. Conflict: due to conflict within developing countries the past 5 years or so have seen an increase in refugee numbers due primarily to violence taking place within home lands, and more often than not, many refugees become stateless.
Through the journey that my friend’s questions sent me on, I came across the below. I think it sums up the situation well, and is fitting to conclude this piece on:
The Poverty Trap– those living in poverty cannot afford nutritiousness food for either themselves or their families. Without the correct or right nutrients, which is produced through the right food source, people often become weaker. This makes them less able to work to earn money that would help them to escape poverty and hunger. The future ramifications for those who do survive the tribulation of hunger, especially children, is that of underdevelopment, which can affect future chances of earning an income. Which then condemns them to a life of poverty and hunger. The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty.