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The Key to Ending Poverty is Hope
Posted By Chris Giovagnoni On September 16, 2013 @ 12:40 am In Children in Poverty | 6 Comments
The third week of Blog Month has arrived, and with it our third writing prompt.
I wrote about the photo of the shoes. Let me know what you think.
Once we were new. Squeaky clean and shiny. Black shoelaces. A snug fit for the right boy’s feet.
We existed for the adventures we’d have with our boy and the places he’d take us. We hoped to be the shoes that couldn’t be given up. We planned to be that. Sturdy. Dependable. Always there. And in a way, we have been. For Blair, Samson, Maizo and many other giggling, somber, shy and wild boys. Anthony. Samuel. Bernard. Felix.
Every child who wore us had poverty engraved in his feet. Some even on their souls. Those children were the hardest to travel with.
Our first girl’s name was Suzan. We were her fancy shoes. That was when we still had a little shine to us.
Her sisters loved us too. Miriam and Eunice. Miriam loved the sounds we made as she tromped through the mud, and Eunice showed us how to be running shoes. We chased the goats endlessly.
Those were idyllic times. But then the men came. It was dark. And violent. There was shouting and cutting. Then crying, and finally silence. We were alone.
After the man found us, we were reunited with our purpose. He exchanged us for a few coins at the market, where we’re still amazed that we didn’t get separated from one another in that mountain of woe.
It was in that mountain that we met Brenda.
Three-year-old Brenda, whose dimpled smile and infectious laugh endeared her to everyone she met. Her dainty feet could hardly keep us on. They kept slipping out, leaving us behind.
One of us was constantly getting left in the field, on the road, wherever she and her family happened to be that day. Left would usually slip off first, and it would be a few minutes before Brenda would come running back and reunite us.
It was for this simple lack of laces that we ended up where we are now, the Ilula Child Development Center, playing with the littlest children. Helping them imitate their older siblings and imagine the future.
We don’t see the same child every day, but there are the usual suspects. Hosea. Esther. Dorine. Those girls love them some galoshes.
We still see Brenda occasionally. She’s much bigger now and doesn’t remember us.
The children we clomp around with—actually, all the children at the center—are part of something called a sponsorship program. It’s named Compassion.
From our perspective, down in the dirt and mud, and based on where we’ve been and the poverty we’ve seen, this “compassion” thing could just as well be called Hope.
The situations of the children at Ilula aren’t perfect—we’re still living in poverty after all—but this presence of hope is significant. It seems to make all the difference in the world.
“The key to ending poverty resides in the capacity of human beings—and their view of their own capacity—to facilitate positive change.”
– Dr. Bruce Wydick, professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco
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