Themba, I'm weeping as I read, once again, your piercing descriptions of Poverty.
Your humiliating memory of a hungry, cold, and deprived youth are painful to read. Thankfully you now have education, sophisticated writing skills, a computer with Internet access, and so you likely have a job, income, car, and a cozy home with helpful technology like a fridge, stove, bathroom, hot water etc.
Hopefully you continue to remain aware of those who still live in the desperate circumstances you once suffered, and are doing your bit to assist those you can assist.
However, I would like you to consider what life was like for your ancestors .. How did your grandparents live a hundred years ago? Imagine the lives of your great grandparents in the 1800s, and then think further back to your family who lived in the 1700s, and the 1600s, and the 1500s, the 1400s, the 1300s ..... Etc.
I, too, can look back over the centuries and recognize that my ancestors lived lives of extreme hardship, unlike anything I could imagine. Children mostly died young. Mothers commonly died in childbirth. Hunger was more familiar than satiation. Winters in Europe were killers! Which demanded that people, and their animals huddle together for warmth. resulting in devastating disease outbreaks, such as TB and the Plague. At least my ancestors probably had horses and carts, unlike yours, because some very kind person invented the wheel for them.
My mother, now 85, recalls a childhood of perpetual hunger and winter freezing. She grew up in the UK. Still, she had more than you did. She had a bed, and a roof that did not leak. And hot water, sometimes- enough for a weekly bath. And she had 2 sets of underwear, and a pair of shoes for school and another pair for playing in. She certainly lived a better life than her parents, and her grandparents. That's how Evolution works. Every generation lives better than the last.
The lives my ancestors lived were as horrendous (in retrospect) as those your ancestors lived, Themba. The difference between me and you is that my ancestors were colonised, by the Norsemen, a thousand years before yours were, which is why my ancestors lives slowly improved, while your ancestors continued, generation after generation, suffering relentless cold, hunger, etc. Children mostly died young and maternal mortality rates were constant. And nothing changed. For centuries.
Until my ancestors colonised yours. Not unlike what happened to my ancestors when they were colonised, first by the Romans, then the Normans, and a few others in between.
With the advent of colonization your parents and grandparents were suddenly exposed to transport by wheels, water from a tap, shops which sold food, warm clothes, homes and roofs that don't fall down and leak, flush toilets, and later, things like electricity, fridges telephones, etc. Being suddenly exposed to these lifestyle comforts inevitably meant that your parents/grandparents would compare the lives they lived, and accepted as the Norm, unchanged for thousands of years, with the lives of the colonisers.
SUDDENLY, what had been Normal living, was now called POVERTY.
What hurts you so much is that, because the Change was so sudden, you are closer to the pain of living without food, warmth, adequate shelter, transport, electricity etc, than I am.
In other words, my family developed slowly to the point where I can live as I do now. Your family got whacked by colonialism, and suddenly, BAM! ... within a generation you are catapulted from a point where myU family were, probably a thousand years ago, to this point in time where we live identically comfortable lives.
Which is why you feel the pain of an extremely deprived childhood that I cannot feel.
Please don't blame me for not having experienced what you have. We have different roots, you understand?
Still, I weep at your descriptions of the hardship of Poverty. But then I do that every winter, when its freezing out there. Can't help it. I'm human, after all.
So, what can you and I do, Themba, to alleviate the hardships of those people we come across who have yet to benefit from the advantages of Civilisation?
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