Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Reality Bites


Samoa can leave you with the feeling that all is well. In fact, the Samoan government does not even keep track of poverty. However from where we sit, Samoa looks quite different.

Today, two of the girls from our host family (4th and 7th grades) came home early from school crying. Upon asking if school let out early, we discovered the family did not have the $7.50 US to pay for both semester school fees and were sent home until they could get the money.

Women in the village are taking out loans at over a 30% interest rate to pay the fees and start up expenses of school. They hope to repay these loans by starting small businesses of which they have no experience. There is a neighbor girl of 14 who is not going to school because of fees. It goes on and on.

These people are not lazy, not irresponsible. They are poor. It is easy to criticize the ways of the poor when sitting on gilded chairs. Their hopes and dreams are the same as others. Their world is different.

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