Today, Gidori (Gideon’s father), writes on the subject of poverty in commemoration of Blog Action Day 2008. According to the site, “Today thousands of bloggers will unite to discuss a single issue – poverty. The day aims to raise awareness, initiate action and to shake the web!” Since many bloggers will likely be posting on the topic of poverty from an outsider’s perspective, I thought it would be interesting to supplement their coverage with the views of people, like Gidori, who have been directly impacted by poverty and have lived their entire lives in one of the poorest countries in the world. What he has to say is powerful. He wrote:
When you look at the dictionary you will find the word poverty being explained as scarcity, shortage, deficiency, lack, and poor quality.
The main poverty for most Africans is in their mindset/worldview. That is how someone sees himself and the the world surrounded him/her. When someone says “I can’t do, I am weak, I am finished, I am being colonized, etc.”, the way people “spiritualize” their circumstances has contributed a lot to the poverty of this land. Lack of understanding and knowledge, contentment of who you are is another factor to poverty. When people are exposed to the other side of the world they may be surprised to see how poor they are and they may be awakened!
I am not poor, I could say. Since I am physically and mentally fit and I have a hope and determination for my good future. I can work with my hands and my mind to sustain me and my family. The level and standard of education I got did not fulfill what I wanted to become. Because of the poverty of my parents, I was not able to go further in my education as I desired. My father failed to pay for college fees which were high.
The continuity of poverty in Tanzania is affecting our children in the sense of poor infrastructure, poor education system, and poor income to many families.
In case Wazungu (foreigners) need to help, I would suggest they follow this kind of slogan:
“Give a man a fish and he has food for the day!” – Relief
“Teach a man to fish and he has food for a lifetime!” – Development
“Empower a man to think about fishing and his life will be changed forever!” – Transformation
When you talk about becoming “rich” I have to think of the levels of richness. I can consider myself to be rich by having my own house, motor bike, food and clothings for my family. Some people may say Gidori is rich and some may not see it that way. The villagers in Moivaro (my village) may see me as one of the rich people in the area, but when I go to Arusha town I may be seen as one of the poor people.
Life could be better and simpler for me and my children if poverty were not an issue. Local people are fighting poverty by working hard. The main problem is that there are no tools to simplify their work. I think if you could help in that area for providing those tools and knowledge, that would be great!
To hear more of Gidori’s perspectives on Africa, be sure to check out this interview.
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