as a child in a single-mom family with a deadbeat dad and then later living in an economically depressed community in the united states, i grew up in and around poverty. one learns to go without, to find other things to keep one's self busy. it also becomes rapidly apparent that poverty is not an issue in some far and distant country: it's right here, right now. and it's not about lazy people, stupid people or "bad" people either.
fortunately for me, my experience with being poor was head and shoulders above what most people in this world endure. that's a pretty sobering thought. in any case, i moved on and live a decent life these days (for certain values of "decent" anyways ;)
the other day, via a friend's website i came upon this blog title "welfare mum". it's one woman's story of leaving a bad situation (abusive, alcoholic marriage) for the betterment of her and her kids but being left relatively poor along the way. she's on welfare, working and going to school so she can get back on her own two feet again. for those who have never been through such a thing, it can be quite enlightening to read about what its like. if nothing else, it helps one realize how fortunate most of us truly are. i also came away remembering how hard some of the people in this world work and struggle just to make ends meet in an honourable way.
"welfare mum" even manages to do volunteer work to help others in even worse situations than herself. this makes me ask myself, "what am i doing for my community? what can i do for my community?"