The Sad Truth…
One of the topics I need to discuss in building the basic foundation for my blog is the lifestyle of a typical, average Nepali person, or a person from a similarly impoverished, third word nation. I have not yet traveled to more remote areas of the country to witness the daily life of people from more distant lands, and will re-blog about my thoughts when that time comes. I have, however, witnessed the daily life of those who live in the capital city, or here in Pokhara, and noticed its vast difference to that of city life in many places in the “western world”. As a westerner myself, I am still partially ignorant to some of the facts of average Nepali life, and am constantly readjusting my view of the way I live, and how I can improve based on what I have seen.
The basic thought is, and we all have used this or heard the saying before; “You/I really don’t know how lucky you/I am”. This statement could not be truer and I will never really be able to express it through words, and pictures, but I guess this is a blog so I am not left with too many other options. There are so many ways to approach me trying to explain this concept and I don’t know where to start, so I may begin to ramble on here but…
I grew up in a place that, from the moment I was born, someone was there to look after me at all times, to make sure that I was always fed so I could grow up healthy, to make sure that I had toys to play with and people to interact with so my mind was positively stimulated, to make sure that I had clothes to wear and a bed to sleep and a house in which to live so that I never had to worry. When I got to toddler age, I had parents and others there to show me right from wrong, to nurture my growth to see to it that I went to school when the time was right and that I went to a good school, a place that could begin to give me the knowledge I needed to one day provide for myself. Later in life I had a chance to go to college, to become part of the 1% of the world population with a college degree of some sort. I have been GIVEN so much in my life. I capitalize GIVEN because it’s true, I didn’t earn the right to live in a house or be fed nutritiously or any of the rest, these things were GIVEN to me by people who care and want to see me succeed. Sadly, most people in this country or those similar get few if any of the same things GIVEN to them.
It’s difficult to see the huge gap between rich and poor in the underdeveloped and developing world. What this elderly women and millions like her wouldn’t do for a fairer shot…
(Photo acknowledgement goes to Lisa Pfaff)
An average person living here, though a resident of the more opportunity filled city life, face a much more challenging existence from the start. I teach and spend time with a few dozen children here. Most of them have probably forgotten the last time they actually took a proper shower or bath. Forget socks or shoes, most kids are lucky to have a pair of ragged beat up sandals with an old tattered tee-shirt and pair of pants…that’s its… the same old filthy tee-shirt and pants every day. Most can’t even dream of what it would be like to one day to go to college, as so many drop out of school before their teenage years to help the family survive. Un-educated and misinformed, many turn to ways of making money that are extremely dangerous to anyone, let alone a small child. Kids that come from low-income families are often cast out as worthless, good for nothing but hard labor for pennies on the dollar. The saying “another day, another dollar” quite literally holds true for both kids and adults. These people plainly have no chance to ever do anything in life other than work their ass off seven days a week, making less in a lifetime then you or I may make in a year. Because I can fed myself, and have a decent bed to sleep in with a few extra bucks to spare puts me in a rare category of the wealthiest 5% of people in the world.
It is tough for me to wrap my mind around that fact, but here is another….just as easily as I am in the position I am, I could even more easily be in the shoes of the people I just described. Because I was “luckily” born into a family and a place where I was GIVEN so many things doesn’t in the least sense make me a more privileged person or more deserving of the happiness life can bring us all in so many ways. My skin may differ in color but I bleed the same blood. I may take a different life path but I have the same emotions; happiness, sadness, jealousy, joy, despair. My eyes may be blue instead of brown but I see the same beauty in nature. I’m not a Hindu, Buddhist, Muslin, Jew, or even Christian for that matter, but I wish for the same happiness in life as people from all these belief systems do. I am the same as the dirtiest old poverty-stricken man on the side of the street; we all are if you think about it.
If you continue to read my blog, this will be the essential theme throughout. I feel that if I keep this as the keystone of my thought process moving forward, I will be able to produce more thought-provoking entries, and more importantly, take a good look at myself in the mirror during my time here. If you read this entry, please feel free to evaluate yourself (as I constantly do with myself) thinking of how we can all apply this sentiment to our lives in our own unique ways.
Please, feel free to comment on these topics, or any others that come to mind when reading…thanks and take care.