Friday, 23 October 2015

Extreme poverty

There are days when I wonder if I can go on - so much sadness, day after day, so much suffering. Every day I hear stories that make me want to weep ... many times I have to turn away or go to another room to cry. 

For 'normal' people in the West it's hard to conceive of the level of poverty at which the poorest of the poor here live - to never have money for food and other essentials in a society where all your basic needs must be bought with hard cash is hard for us to comprehend. Mothers tell us sometimes of their children crying in the night with hunger and often when they do manage to feed their children it is with food with very little nutritional value. 

I feel guilty most of the time, knowing that I go home at night to a proper house, more than enough clothes, a warm bed and an evening meal. People tell me that I must look after myself so that I can carry on with the work and I can see the sense in that ... but it doesn't help. We live in a greedy selfish world where those who already 'have' just want more and more and it's always at the expense of those who 'have not'. 

Poverty isn't just a "natural" phenomenon, it's a human made one. Years ago in conversation about this issue a friend reminded me of an old "Star Trek" episode, the original "Star Trek" many years ago ... in this episode Captain Kirk and co are on some other planet and make the observation that there are no poor people. Their host informs them that on his planet they abolished poverty centuries ago. It's only a TV programme but it makes the point - poverty could be abolished on our planet if there was a political will to do so. 

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