Sunday, December 19, 2010

So You Think You're Poor?

When I have something on my mind, and there rarely is a time when I don't, I have to get it out on paper or research it, and work through it.  This morning, I have a couple of things rolling around in my head and it was a toss up which one would make it to the keyboard.  It's always the louder thought that makes it ....

Warning: It's a downer.  And, even though it's a downer, I'm not feeling depressed about it, it's just an acute awareness that I am finding I cannot easily dismiss.

I heard a woman say something the other day that stuck in my brain and it won't go away.  She said that if you have a refrigerator with even just a container of spoiled milk in it and a closet with only one change of clothes in it, you are better off than three-quarters of the world's population. At first, I dismissed it as crazy talk but obviously it was a thought that didn't go away completely.  I did a little research online this morning and found this website 21st Century Poverty that provides some staggering statistics.  Most people won't click on this site so I'm pulling out the most shocking stats I found:

Today, across the world, 130,000,000,000 people live on less than $1.00 a day; 3,000,000,000 live on under $2.00 a day; 1,300,000,000 have no access to clean water; 3,000,000,000 have no access to sanitation; 2,000,000,000 have no access to electricity.

I had to clear my eyes and count the zeros because the stats are talking about billions of people, as if millions is a small number.  Three billion people with no access to sanitation and a few less with no clean water.  It takes my breath away thinking about it.

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Ever since Justin & Amanda came for Thanksgiving a month ago, I started using our downstairs shower because we gave them our bedroom, therefore we slept in the basement while they were here. I had only used that downstairs shower once or twice before but I really love it because it has a one-knob faucet on it and I like to turn it on, get my hair wet, turn if off, lather up, turn it back on, rinse and get out.  I'm a 5-minute shower person.  I haven't always been this way, but a summer trip with my dad in an RV turned me into a water conservationist against my own will. When Gene I traveled  & camped early in our relationship, we found places to shower like the YMCA and campgrounds where you pay 50 cents for 5-minute showers. We got really good at quick showers & were ever so thankful we could find places with hot water for showering. 

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So, I stayed home all day yesterday, cooking up a storm and enjoying my kitchen and the fact that I have running hot water and walnuts (see about walnuts) to throw in my fudge.  Surprisingly, the melancholy I typically feel this time of year is mild and Christmas is less than one week away and I haven't gotten all crazy about it.

If you've hung in reading this far into my post, I just want to say I'm always grateful for so many things such as friends, family, hot running clean water, walnuts, heat, good health,  chocolate chips and only about a billion other things. I hope I never get so desensitized that I don't hear the messages that people give me that I sometimes dismiss as crazy talk. 

4 comments:

  1. I've read all those statistics in our state SHARE campaign and it is staggering. WHich is one reason my cc balance is what it is at this moment, I've tried to SHARE very generously this year. Especially to our local needs. (P.S. my cc balance is only high because I haven't paid my monthly bill yet and I may not even be able to pay it off entirely this month. I have learned THAT lesson!)

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  2. Kathy, what is the SHARE campaign all about? Do tell. I'm intrigued!

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  3. We are lucky to live the lives we have compared to so many others, sometimes we forget that when something we perceive as bad happens, but really we live a blessed life.

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  4. Susan: The SHARE campaign is what the state has come up with for their employees to contribute to the less fortunate. I'm sure it was going on when you worked here...you can contribute locally, nationally or internationally. http://alaskashare.org/_root/
    I don't contribute directly to it, rather I go right to the agencies in town. The one thing I don't like about SHARE is they had out stupid little gifts depending on the amount you give and I hate that. People should just give w/out being rewarded, particularly with something they don't really care a thing about.

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