Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We See It Every Day

Today is World Poverty Day. Somehow, this year it hits closer to home than ever before. The definition of poverty is the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support. All of us, especially those of us living in Mexico, see this definition in its' purest form everyday. Take yesterday for example.



I was in line for what seemed like forever at the grocery store. I finally got close enough to the cash register that there was only one person in front of me. A woman. She had a basket full of items. Instead of emptying the basket on the conveyor like most people do, she took one item at a time out of the basket and handed it to the cashier. On the fourth item, she made the cashier back it out, set it aside and chose something else out of her basket. She kept this up until I wanted to scream with impatience. Then I noticed that in her left hand she was clutching a 100 peso note. All the money she had. What she was doing was buying the highest priority items first until her bill reached that 100 peso mark. The rest of the stuff she left in her basket and somebody took it to replace the stuff she couldn't afford back on the shelf. That is poverty.



We can't change the world. We can't put an end to poverty. Especially here in Mexico where the average daily wage is between $5 to $8 USD. But we can help alleviate poverty, one person at a time. We can help make one person's life just a little brighter, just a little more hopeful, by giving of ourselves and our pocketbooks when and where the occasion arises.



Let me make it easy for you. You know I've got this Project Warm Hands thing going. I think it is a good thing, but there is something else you can do. Right now. Go over to the Viva Veracruz on my blogroll or click the highlighted link and donate some money to the poverty stricken people of Xico. It doesn't have to be much. I just figured out that if every single person who stopped by my blog yesterday were to donate a measly little $5, John would have collected $3090.00!!!! Incredible.



Don't think about it. Don't sit there and say "Oh, those poor people". Take 5 minutes to hop over there and give $5, or more if you can. You will spend the rest of the day with a big smile on your face. I guarantee it.

13 comments:

K.W. Michigan said...

So sad .. I was in Wal-Mart (Cancun) a couple years ago and the same thing was happening. I felt so sorry for the little old lady, I told the cashier to give her all the stuff in her basket. It cost me about 25 US dollars. I felt good and the lady had a smile of thanks! I know we can't do that all the time, but I was on vacation and I didn't need to buy another t-shirt!

Islagringo said...

kw: that's exactly what I am talking about! I hope that people realize that for the cost of about a gallon of gas or a Big Mac, they can do a tremendous lot of good for a family down here. I was so tempted to pay for the things that lady couldn't afford but 1) I live here and can't set that kind of precedent and 2) I was afraid she would be insulted and turn me down. She was only in her 30's and she was buying mostly stuff for a baby.

Anonymous said...

Viva Veracruz link leads me nowhere, says it's under construction. I would like to pay it forward this beautiful fall morning in New England. Island Nana

Calypso said...

OK Wayne - I am in -

Unfortunately EVERYDAY is World Poverty Day for nearly half the humans on the planet.

Thanks for you efforts here.

John

Islagringo said...

island nana: I have added a link inside the post. Both of them work for me when I click them. Please try again. Thanks for donating to a worthy cause!

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, you inspired me, I went to the link and left a small donation.

Islagringo said...

anonymous: thank you so much. I hope your day is filled with smiles, you deserve it! (p.s. if you want to share more details about your identity for the thank you post, please send me an email)

Sue said...

I put a link to your blog in my blog today - hope that's ok. Good job on the recent blogs - every little bit helps.

Jane Hudalla said...

Dear Wayne, as you may remember, after Hurricane Isadore (which destroyed crops, livestock, and many thousands of homes in the state of Yucatan), I collected clothing and cash donations from good people (including you and B). I learned a lot through this experience, which I would like to relay to your readers. At that time, I was told that in order to air ship these items to Mexico, I would have to be a registered shipper, due to laws placed in effect after 9/11. So, I filled out the paperwork and passed the background check. And then I contacted another registered shipper, Fed Ex, who offered to air ship, free of charge, tons (truckloads) of donations my daughter and I delivered to the MSP airport. The first two shipments made it through Yucatan customs, because my contacts there struck a deal with custom agents who took some of the goods. What remained was trucked to a rural village, about 50 miles from Merida, where it was distributed, free of charge, by my friend’s sister. The third shipment did not arrive as planned, because I was unwilling to pay custom fees that, as I recall, amounted to $450, and my contacts were unable to make a deal. This is when a Fed Ex agent called to report that customs said the items would be burned if I didn’t pay the fee. I don’t know what happened to these donated items, which although second-hand, were of high quality and still in excellent condition. I’ll just state here what I hope happened--that the donated items benefited people in need. Also at that time, my Fed Ex charitable shipping contact told me she was going to call Nike who wanted to donate shoes to a good cause. Later, in an online Yucatan newspaper, I read that Nike had sent a large quantity (I don’t recall the number but it was a lot) of shoes to the Red Cross in Merida, and that a spokeswoman for the Red Cross was livid, because the shoes were being held in a warehouse, because customs wanted Nike to pay $4 per pair in order to release the donated shoes. One year later, I spoke with a U.S. teenager who had just returned from a church mission trip to the rural Yucatan village I know, where his group helped to repair a pastor’s house. This teen said that, during a conversation with a local teen, he noticed that the local was wearing two left-footed shoes. (I don’t know if they were Nikes.) The American said the experience made him realize how lucky he is. We all know that manufacturers profit from cheap labor, and that’s why peasants will always be poor. I recommend that your readers bring gently used winter jackets to Mexico (they are really appreciated), wire money to someone they trust to distribute and/or use to purchase what folks really need locally, and keep the economy flowing by being generous with tips to waiters and hotel maids. And by the way, Fed Ex charitable shipping now benefits our troops in Iraq. Thank you for donating your time towards helping others. What goes around comes around, and generosity is always rewarded in one way or another.
--Jane Hudalla

Anonymous said...

Keep reminding us. I made my donation before I left site so I would not forget again. There wasn't anywhere to add a note though. Dujy (Judy Sutherland)

Jackie said...

Wayne,
I just made my PayPal donation over on Viva Veracruz's Blog. I too wish everyone who clicks on your blog will also make a donation. How awesome that would be!

couzin frank said...

Thanks for bringing these people to our attention.

tacogirl said...

Great post I liked to it on my morning's post. There was a time here when we had a cold front come in and we did not have a proper Blanket (and there was not a lot of choice on the island at the time) I remember to this day what that felt like trying to keep warm layering empty duvet covers up and I am sure many people here had less than what we did to keep warm. Project Warm hands is a great thing.