It’s fairly well-known, but still shocking, that over 1 billion people survive on less than a dollar per day. I saw several of them in the last week while I was in Ethiopia – from the women in rural areas carrying huge stacks of wood on their backs to people of all ages foraging through trash at the large dump on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. For me, the ability to put individual faces and stories with the statistics brings a much greater sense of urgency to the problem.
I agree with former Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, that all decisions are based on probability analysis, at least implicitly.
As I watched humans compete with vultures and goats for scraps at the dump, I was struck by the notion that these destitute people are conducting their own probability analysis – the risk of starving to death against the risks associated with eating rotten, diseased garbage.
Tougher choices than what we face, huh ?
I wanted to avert my eyes, but instead I just focused intently on these helpless people, trying to burn the images in my conscious, so they don’t fade.
But some may not be completely without hope, because through the generosity of several of our Gladney families, a program to provide nourishing food for the elementary school age children who otherwise would be working with their parents to pick through garbage is being implemented. This program will also enable them to attend school and potentially break the cycle of poverty, at least in their families.