Saturday, January 8, 2011

Poorness is relative

So... I thought I had money problems. Nic and I live largely on student loans while I work minimally collecting data or subbing at my old job to supplement income. Life is certainly by no means glamorous for us, but we do what we need to do to get by. Living month to month and being poor sucks and is totally the worst... Or so I thought.

After going to Oaxaca, I was able to experience a completely new definition of "poorness". I saw the same people begging for money in the Zocalo, regardless of time of day. I witnessed people who lived in shacks crudely constructed by standing sheets of metal up against one other with nothing bracing their stance and a "ceiling" that was gently placed on top of the standing sheets of metal. I observed a man sans pants sleeping in the middle of the sidewalk very close to the corner of a very busy intersection. There were people who sold candy in the town center and cigarettes individually. Children approached me numerous times to ask for money or to place a sticker on my arm, only to demand a peso as compensation.

I reflected on my own position after all of this. I have a nice home over my head. I eat what I want, when I want it. I have two dogs who eat a premium dog food in addition to bones, toys, and scrumptious treats. I own numerous electronic devices that provide me with knowledge, entertainment, and communication. I drive a car that is aesthetically and functionally pleasing. Whether I am on the go or lounging at home, I feel warm and safe. I have (relative) access to health care. I have the luxury of attending post-graduate classes and do not have to work considerable amounts just to make ends meet.

I saw true destitution and decided that I am incredibly wealthy.

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting when you experience that "ah hah" moment regarding how relational and perspective constructs influence views on the world. Experiences let you live in the moment and own your current state of being whether that is physical, mental, spiritual, etc. I am glad that you were able to experience a part of the world which seemed to help increase appreciation and value in the things you are afforded.