Who is Poor? Who Decides?

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Who is Poor? Who Decides?

Another guest post today, this time at Emily Woods’ blog. Emily has actually been to Djibouti, incredibly she spent two months here in the summer as part of a college internship. We laugh that we have only seen each other in our worst states – sweaty and grimy and exhausted. Her introduction to Djibouti included watching me fight with airport employees within five minutes of her arrival. Amazingly, her time here, though difficult (we’re talking serious heat and culture shock), has left a deep impact on both of us. I love Emily’s passion to learn and be involved in the wider world, her deepening perspective, and her Godward focus. I also love that she has become a runner!

This post is also about poverty, sort of. More about who gets to decide who is poor, who gets to slap on labels? And how do we need to reconsider our assumptions?

poverty1

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Anna’s house is made of aluminum and two of the three rooms have a roof. Goats
and sheep wander freely through the courtyard where Anna’s mother cooks over a
single gas burner, squatting on an over-turned powdered milk can.

An outsider could come to Anna’s home and declare her ‘poor.’

Why? She doesn’t have an air conditioner or hot water. She doesn’t have a high
school education or health insurance. She doesn’t have a closet full of extra clothing
or shoes, bookshelves sagging with weight, or a car. She has no variety in her diet
and rarely in her routine.

Poverty, in the west, is often defined by what a person doesn’t have.

However, Anna is not poor and doesn’t define herself as poor. She has thousands of dollars in the bank…read more here.

By |March 7th, 2013|Categories: africa, Writing|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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