About Poverty


“You ask me what is poverty? Listen to me. Here I am, dirty, smelly, and with no ‘proper’ underwear on and with the stench of my rotting teeth near you. I will tell you. Listen to me. Listen without pity. I cannot use your pity. Listen with understanding. Put yourself in my dirty, worn out, ill-fitting shoes, and hear me.”

That is the first paragraph of the essay “What is Poverty” written by Jo Goodwin Parker. Do you remember the moment when you read it?  Was there something hurts your heart? Last time when I wanted to share my feelings in our class, I failed. Friends, please forgive me. I didn’t mean to make you sad, yet this essay is really moving. I thought the author must write it with her soul, as I was touched by every sentence and even every single word.

Although people often say that everyone is equal when he or she comes to the earth, there are few people have experienced the equal time. The poor are the poor, and the rich are the rich. Even though the poor are as smart as the rich, as intelligent as the rich, and as kind as the rich, they are poor. They have to face series problems which may determine the time that they live on the earth. They have to learn to share things; younger sisters have to wear the clothes that their elder sisters used to wear, and elder sisters have to give up the opportunities to go to school for their younger sisters’ studies. They sell their blood. They sell everything they can sell. In these kinds of conditions, no one can complain. Since they are poor, they have already lost the rights to complain anything. As long as they have food to eat, have clothes to wear, it’s enough. That’s why the poor are very easy to be satisfied.

However, being satisfied doesn’t mean that they don’t want to improve their poor conditions. Indeed, they want. They also want to have a good living and change their lives so that their next generation can get rid of this terrible situation. In order to achieve their dreams, they ask for help, but they are so weak that they can’t walk through the system that people created. They really don’t want to tell others how poor they are, as they cannot use people’s pity. There is common belief among the poor: no matter how poor they are, they need others’ respect. When they tell their stories to others, what they want just understanding. If someone is kind enough that he or she wants to help them, please help them without pity, instead, with his or her sincere, which means a lot to them.

Indeed, poverty is not a permanent thing for a person. If there is any possibility to place the poor into a situation where they can really have the opportunities to create what they want, those people are not poor any longer. Whereas, who can be the force which can do the transition? You may know the answer.

2 Responses to About Poverty

  1. samia71 says:

    Though everyone comes to the earth in equal manner, but it is a matter of regret that the situation is changed afterwards for economical discrimination which exists in a wide range in our world. Poor people are the scapegoats of this discrimination who have to sacrifice a lot because they are ‘poor’. How tragedic it is. In our country, in every winter i experience that poor people lie in the street in cold night with having their torned and old clothes which are not enough for their protection against cold. They gather papers and make a fire to protect themselves from the cold. On the other hand, rich people enjoys winter because they have money. Even if most of them don’t think the situation of the poor people what they face. It is the rude reality. ‘Money’ is the main factor to determine the economic level and get the fundamental rights of a person. According to it, who has money he can do something for improving the condition of a poor. It is the responsiblity of his own. If people try to understand one another’s position, an economical discrimination free world is not far away. It is my hope. It is my answer.

  2. papunauw says:

    I like the way you expressed your thoughts about poverty which you failed to express during class. However, I must say that there are some point I don’t able to agree with you. First, you said that poor children wear their younger sisters’ and brothers’ dresses. It is not like that only poor people do that. Therefore, this thing is not only because of poverty, it is mainly culture and tradition. The other things I disagree are that poor are always concerned about their respect and they do not want for pity. I think it is not always true. The poor are sometimes intentionally seek for sympathy and pity. They even sometimes start begging when they can not do work for their livelihood. Thus, they try to disrespect themselves so that people will pity them.

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