Poor. What does that mean?
Our neighbors were getting their drinking water delivery. Out of nowhere Mattaeus comes out with “they are poor because they can’t drink tap water”.
*Ding ding ding, learning opportunity*
Me: “What does poor mean?”
Mattaeus: “Mum it means they don’t have an oven and they sleep on the floor. They don’t have blankets and they don’t really have a good kitchen.”
Markus: “Because the place is old, doesn’t matter. It’s not poor. It’s just different. That’s all.”
*10 points to the small Asian child*
So over some hot noodles and processed pork meat balls, we started to talk about different ways of living and because something isn’t the same as us, it doesn’t mean they are less or worse off than us.
Just to give you an idea this wonderful family live in a one bedroom home with a lounge, bathroom and kitchen. Their kitchen consist of a bench, sink and gas stove which I think is great! It’s not cluttered with appliances, one too many chopping boards and Tupperware containers to last a life time. They sleep on the floor as a family and sit on a woven mat to watch T.V at night. There is no such thing as a couch, lazy boys, thermomixer or even cupboards full of food. They cook fresh food DAILY for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Why don’t they have blankets? Because it’s bloody 30+ degrees at night here.
What is the definition of poor anyway? So many times I have heard that word been thrown around. “Sorry can’t go for dinner tonight I’m poor” or “I can’t go clubbing this week I’m poor”. Gerhard and I grew up in good old South Auckland. Gerhard is from Manurewa and myself from Otara. I wouldn’t define South Auckland as poor but a low social economic area. We grew up with a roof over our heads, food on the table, a great education and clothes on our back. However, we can say we have grown up around people who have struggled to feed their families, clothe their children and keep a roof over their heads. To us poor means not having the essentials like food, shelter and access to clean water.
Living in a materialistic society in our experience can see people judging others based on the car they drive, the job they have, the area they live in and the clothes they wear. I think this shows as a society we define happiness or success by the amount of “stuff” we own and not the quality of life we are living.
We want our kids to notice the differences, understand the differences but also understand we are all the same. We all sleep, eat, laugh, worry, get excited, cry, piss, shit, love and want to be loved.
Yes its easy to fear what we don’t understand and can uncomfortable at times. We don’t want to sit and watch from afar, point and make assumptions. We want to speak to people, listen and try to understand because once we start to take away the idea of “us” and “them” we can learn about each other.
We would love to hear what other people think! Do you have any stories to share or have an opinion on this subject?