Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Living with Empty Stomachs and Pockets

Poverty....

Are you quite sure that you know and see what this word is all about?

I live in a Third-World Country (Well... Atleast thats what I hear from the people) and see, almost everyday, what poverty really is. It's hard to feel something unless you see it for yourself and not through other people's eyes.

"Yeah yeah... They live in poverty... It's a really sad fact."

You know, some people take everything in the most general way without understanding what the wh*** picture is showing. For example:

... Seeing someone trip from some rock and hearing that story from a person totally changes the subject.

... You get a different kind of chill when you dip your feet in a pool to check if its cold than diving and feeling the water embrace your wh*** body.

... There's a big difference between hearing that a calculus exam is hard and actually taking the test yourself.

... The big punch to your heart is harder when you see a starving 6-year old begging for alms rather than hearing a story of a 6-year old begging for alms.

I hope you're getting what I'm trying to say. To make the long story short, I have seen, first-hand, the hunger and depression of people who suffer from food shortages, mostly because of money problems.

I've seen a couple of feeding programs that some gold-hearted people give to instill a moment of happiness in eating very delicious food to these people. There was a time when my best friend and I treated students to Jollibee (It's the local version of McDonalds... or something like that) to give them a good meal and a good time. It cost us a lot of money though (Because I fed 8 students and gave them toys each, and we're just high school students back then so we don't have a source of income) but it was well worth it to see them play with the toys and have a happy stomach.

After that day though... I came to my senses that the kids will live their normal lives again. Eating the same amount of food that they eat. Suddenly, a very famous quote that I've been hearing all the time echoed inside my head:

"Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime."

I know It's something like that and pardon me if I said it wrong... But I believe that this sentence is very applicable to the situation we are in today.

Feeding programs would fill a stomach for a day, but an average person lives about 90 years? Thats 90 x 365 days! 1 day of eating wouldn't really make a difference... what we need is something that will fill their stomachs every day.

Here's what I think is most appropriate. We should teach people a way to get them money/food in a constant basis. Educate them and make them see what they need to do for a living. I know this is basic and very obvious for a solution, but there's part two.

After that, we should make them feel relevant and give them a sense of feeling that we need their work. For example, we teach a man to plant vegetables for his livelihood and his way of earning decent money. After that, we should give him a slot to be providers of our vegetables and not leave him as is. I know this may seem all confusing now but think about it.

Imagine a town/city where everyone contributes to the city. A portion of the city is responsible for our food... some are responsible for our furniture... some are responsible for our water. What's important is that everyone plays an important role and earning money, decent money, for them to eat something healthy and nice.

The main reason why I want people to feel needed and important is that so they'll have a mindset that they are working together to LIVE A GOOD LIFE! No one is left behind. It doesn't have to be country/continent wide. I'm talking about cities or small towns that need this kind of camaraderie.

Sure, teach a man to fish.... but if you leave that man where can he give the excess fish. How can he make a living out of the fishing if no one cares about his fishes since other fishing companies do the job anyway. What I want to say is that the man you taught to fish would work with the other fishermen so that income will be divided and everyone is happy in the fishing industry. (I hope)

It's like teaching a kid to play fencing to which becomes really good. When that kid reached a level where he can compete already, you don't invite/put him in your fencing team to contribute something. It doesn't make sense.

I hope I made complete sense though. I have this vision in mind that is hard to put into words... If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to respond. :) I'd highly appreciate it.




Views: 23

Comment by Bonan Zhang on April 27, 2010 at 10:50am
Powerful words. Look forward to your other ideas?
Comment by Luis Benesa on April 27, 2010 at 1:55pm
Thank you Brian. :) I'll look forward to yours as well. I believe that this is a group effor from all of us.
Comment by Shakwei Mbindyo on April 27, 2010 at 2:18pm
I like that you mention restoring dignity as one of the outcomes of "teaching to fish".
Comment by NatNat on April 27, 2010 at 2:22pm
I do understand what you're trying to share, great!! :) I've been working on that kind of things, through the organization i'm working with i mean :D
Comment by Luis Benesa on April 27, 2010 at 2:41pm
Dignity... why didn't i think of that word.. Hahahaha! Thanks Shakwei!

Yes yes yes! It's good that people are working on this. I myself don't have the power to do so yet since I'm all busy with school and stuff. More blessings to come in your organization NatNat. :)

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