Poverty has ‘its ways’

Life can be such that every now and then you get into a situation that takes you down memory lane, right?

So I’m walking on the right hand sidethrough a tunnel to meet two nice buds for what’s fast settling as a once-a-week lunch date. An activist or volunteer (they’re never in short supply here. Both are big deals.) is swaying at a junction and as I approach that point, she reaches out and hands me a brochure: November 5 DAY OF ACTION.

I’ve been invited to ‘TAKE ACTION’ and ‘JOIN THE MOVEMENT’ to rid this otherwise great province of poverty. I wonder to myself: Poverty?! Really?!

From my ‘invitation card’, here are the reasons we’re (including me, ahem!) in poverty: UNEMPLOYMENT IS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH, ESPECIALLY FOR YOUTH, and EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE CLAIMS ARE THROUGH THE ROOF.

And this is the call we need to shout to power: REDUCE TUITION; PROVIDE PUBLIC HOUSING; QUALITY PUBLIC HEALTH CARE; AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE; EMPLOYMENT EQUITY; A LIVING WAGE; FAIR EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE RATES; and RAISE SOCIAL ASSISTANCE RATES.

My mind is taken away from what its mulling (can’t remember now what it was) and for the next minutes I have to walk to get to my destination, poverty takes the front seat.

Just recently, when the great countries of the world were only seven (G7, anybody?) we were high up on the pecking order, meaning we got to “fund” the unfortunate who were wallowing in poverty. Now those countries are 20. Not an overly huge club.While we’re still kind of up somewhere and look too fragile because our position (and influence) is really threatened by the raising giants we surely haven’t hit dire straits.

So I ask myself; what is this poverty I’m being invited to rally for? It looks completely different from what I’m familiar with. At that point my mind recalled how, not long ago, when I lived in Mbarara (I still technically do – it holds a special place in my heart), I and my buds had a way of taking in and living at peace with such scenarios.

And it was really simple, albeit a little curt but in a nice way. Say that you were feeling hungry and someone came to you sipping a cool fanta, or munching delicious Pringles, and the person bemoaned how hungry they were. Usually the fitting reply would be: Hunger can really manifest in different ways (enjara ein’emiringo). And so can poverty!

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Poverty has ‘its ways’

  1. NOTE: THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN EDITED, ACCORDING TO REQUESTS FROM ITS AUTHOR.

    You remember the study of poverty in university? The Abraham Merton books, the functions of poverty and all? Subjective, relative and absolute poverties? This post reminded me all that…One time I was speaking about poverty with a European friend and I said; ‘YOU know what? I have really studied poverty and I think I understand it.” SHE looked me at asked if I had just studied not lived poverty….The culture of volunteers is an important aspect of education that we miss back in Africa, you can say the same about internships but one thing for sure is that poverty in the G8 is just a mockery, it is in most cases caused by wrong choices not the shortage of resources or jobs. So pick up you placards on 5 November, it could be your turn to kick poverty out of Gaakiland and your homies in Mbarara can have a different perception of it.

  2. Nice one !!!! It reminds of one woman called Marie Antoinette who was told that peasants had no bread, and responded: “qu’ils mangent de la brioche -Let them eat cake ).”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s