Living in a developing country and being blessed enough to be able to work, provide for your family and get by, is considered lucky.
In Tanzania people are considered poor when their consumption is below than the national poverty line. Consumption includes all goods that are bought, as well as those produced and consumed at home. This includes food, household equipment, clothing, personal effects, personal care, recreation, cleaning, domestic services, contributions, fuel, petrol and soap.
Over the years, I have always had a sense of responsibility and felt the urgency to work towards bridging gaps in poverty, through advocating for education and engaging in activities, big and small, in sectors like health and social change in an attempt to bridge this gap.
After having my daughter, I understand the notion that every parent wants the very best for their child. It does not escape me how truly blessed we have been to be able to provide for her. What I’m struggling with now is excess, conservation as well as teaching her to understand that she really is no different than another young girl from the other side of town who does not have the luxury of being able to enjoy three healthy meals a day and who cannot afford to go to school. I hope to be able to awaken this sense of responsibility towards poverty and the gaps in society in my daughter.
One evening, I came home after a visit to a school in Dodoma, the country’s capital, where I had been working to raise funds for building a girls’ hostel. These students were going through horrors every day; from 16 kilometer walks to and from school, to living in deplorable conditions, to being subject to burglary and rape. It was really weighing in on me.
I walked in to find my younger brother and my daughter watching TV with the sound on really loud. She was playing a game on the iPad and lights were on all around the house. Excess. They had just had dinner and both seemed to be almost just laying there. or me that was a turning point. Things had to change. Scaling down was imminent.
High on our agenda these days is use of only what we need. Above all is practicing gratitude. When she is old enough to understand, I will introduce her to the reality of the way things are in the world.
It really strikes me though, time and time again, just how different lives are. Not to bite the hand that feeds me, but it seems almost unfair that some have so much while others have so little. What makes us special to be the “Haves” and them the “Have Nots”?
My struggle these days is just to try and get it.
What are your thoughts? How do you teach your kids about giving back?
This is an original post by Nancy Sumari from Tanzania. You can find more of her writing at Mama Zuri.
Photo credit to Wheeler Cowperthwaite