Monday, February 25, 2008
i've been thinking a lot recently about poverty. the good side of it.
there is a bad side to poverty, too, i know. deep poverty is not being able to afford health care for a sick baby, nutritious food to keep your body healthy, not being able to be warm in the winter, not having shoes and socks to wear when it's cold out.
deep poverty exists in much of the world. it's a desperate existence, which breaks the spirit.
but i've been rolling over in my mind the lifestyles of people i grew up with. their homes were often 2 or 3 rooms, a kitchen and a bedroom or two. an outhouse in the back, and a faucet and sink somewhere in the courtyard. there would be a clothesline, and perhaps an orange tree and a mango tree growing in the yard, along with other tropical flowers.
instead of a living room, there were a few chairs in the yard, perhaps under a tree. on a rainy day, visitors can sit on the beds in the bedroom and chat, but usually they are outdoors. children run and play in the yard barefoot with a tattered and mended ball, sometimes one that has been re-stuffed with plastic bags.
as i try to pare my life back to its most fundamental essentials, these images come back to me vividly. what do i really need? and why should i work to pay for what i don't really want? couldn't that time be more well spent in contemplation, reading, with loved ones. then i could cook, garden, sew, make furniture. i could make what i need, instead of buying.
the desire for a home of my own is intense, but i wish i could own a home like those bolivian dwellings...so simple, so minimal, and so sufficient.