Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Portrait of Poverty

Poverty? Hmmm...

The subject isn't really new to me since I live in a third-world country. Though I consider my family as those belonging in the average middle class, my parents never really spoiled us of anything and imbibed in us as they brought us the value of every single cent they earn to make a living and the value of every single piece of rice on the plates from which we eat. And though my parents didn't really made us feel that sometimes they're having a hard time, I grew up as someone who sees and recognizes poverty as an element bounded in my country for so long.

Globalization, modernization and different sorts of industries has brought lots of opportunities for Filipinos yet along all the technological developments and advancements the flow of modern world boasts, somewhere in our society this we call poverty still continues to live on. And I bet we all see the picture of it. I bet we all have different personal pictures of it, whether based form personal experience or was something we've seen in the news and television. I bet all of us, regardless of our convictions, the culture that has brought us up or the environment where we grew has a picture of poverty somewhere in our heads. And over time, most of us have learned to live with it... and ignore it.

Once on my way to school, I saw a thin little boy crying and sobbing hard. Barefoot, on dirty ragged clothing with blood stains all over it and has several bruises on his face. I almost cried from what I saw. My heart was crushed, I sat frozen from where I was and I just don't know what to do. I felt really sorry as I look closely at him and at the same time bad for myself for not being able to do anything.

It was the first time I saw such a scene. The image of him kept on haunting me whenever I think of poverty. I thought it will be the last that I'll ever saw one. But I was wrong because I realize I've seen nothing yet.

I prayed. I opened my eyes and I see. The boy in the ragged clothes is just one. What about the family living on the street?; the old lady begging for alms on the foot bridge?; the young boys inhaling rugby to counter off the feeling of hunger?; the desperate sidewalk vendors that'll almost sell anything to make ends meet?; the underage prostitutes who'd rather sell their purity and dignity just for a couple hundred peso?; the eco-aides roaming the streets every morning searching the garbage bins for wastes they can sell for a couple of peso?; and the small children selling sampaguita, rugs, and cigarette sticks outside churches and parking lots?

Apathy is what we all imply whenever we are haunted by these everyday pictures. Most of us would probably say they’d rather worry over their own problems rather than give a damn over something or someone they don’t even know. A very sad philosophy most of us follows but not me. In here I would like to share the Church’s teaching about the Preferential Love for the Poor which I adhere to.

These pictures I see everyday is the same picture that fuels me up to someday be a big help to those who truly is in need. Something I consider my calling and mission to fulfill as long as I live. And I pray this will be the same as with you.

Now that the world is experiencing a global financial crisis as known developed country’s economy and market plunge, the fang of poverty is starting to become obvious and anxiety and fear started to well up from everyone. But fear not (and honestly, this is all I can say), for our God is the same God who was with us during the darkest and scariest part of our history. The dilemma the world is facing right now is no greater than the God we have. All we have to do is just trust and believe in His divine providence and in his plans.

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