Tag Archives: poverty

Favelas

I’ve never been to Brazil, though it holds massive appeal to me. There’s a lot to like: rainforest, soccer (they call it futebol), the culture, various meats served on swords. Even the notorious ‘rough’ parts of Brazil seem kind of alluring. Let me explain.

MMMMMMMeat on swords

MMMMMMM sword meat…

I’m always interested to see how ‘the other side’ operates and navigates day-to-day life in any country. Not in an idiot poverty-gawking American sense (Look, Ma! That feller’s peein in the street!). My interest in the world’s ‘wrong sides of the tracks’ isn’t academic, journalistic, do-gooder based, thrill-seeking or scientific. I think it’s mostly just inquisitiveness. It’s also practical.

For one thing, I find that meeting people who look and live different than you do is the spice of life. Also, fancy places are pretty similar the world over. Shopping malls in Chengdu, Cape Town, Calcutta and Columbus are largely indistinguishable. Wealth seems to breed insipidness, as well as the propensity toward being a pompous jerk.

Poor places in general are usually just more interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that there is nothing fun, quaint, exciting or entertaining about poverty. There’s nothing nice about high infant mortality rates and not having access to life’s basic essentials. What I’m trying to say is that whatever country you’re in, it’s usually the poorer areas where you’ll find the most interesting people, the warmest hospitality, the most innovation, the most unique experiences, and the best food.

Getting a sense of how the poor, the forgotten, the feared and reviled, the outcasts and outliers live is always an enlightening experience. How do they survive? What’s their life like? This seems like a good starting point for trying to figure out a country, and understanding the people who make up a country. Continue reading

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Filed under F Commentary, Faith, Film, F Entertainment, Foreign Lands

Francophone Fellowship Follow-up

Hello friends, we’ve made it back from Haiti. As always, visiting Hispaniola was equal parts fruitful, inspiring, uplifting, frustrating, confusing and crushingly depressing. We high-tailed it out of there before the storm hit; which several colleagues have likened to a cowardly Costanza pushing everyone out of the way to save his own skin. Touché.

If we can get reflective for a moment…

Last night as Isaac blew through our neighborhood here in Florida, the wind howled and the rain lashed but nothing much really happened to us. My bougainvillea got roughed up. The dogs pooped in the house. Those things were a bit annoying. But the roof, walls and windows held, and life continued this morning pretty much as usual. We never even lost power.

I can’t help but wonder what last night was like for people in Haiti (more specifically the poor people, rich people in any country usually sleep just fine). They say at least 24 people have died, but who can say how many more sustained damage to their homes or lost their crops or whatever possessions they need to survive. Even more, how many this morning are dealing with sick children, or terrified children, a flooded house, or a ruined road that prevents them from getting to a doctor or a job that pays the only income they can find? What are the people in the tent cities eating today? There’s no McDonald’s in Haiti. Continue reading

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Filed under F Commentary, Foreign Lands