Life, Society

The illusion of being “poor”

Some people say they are so poor, they don’t have money. For some, being poor is a constant struggle for others being poor is an illusion of how they think being poor is supposed to feel like but to the illusionist it’s the latter. The online dictionary defines being poor as “lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society”.  A few examples of how the illusionist considers themselves as poor:

Example 1

An extract from a conversation I once over heard:

Individual 1: How does the company expert me to live off this salary, I am so poor.

Individual 2: All my friends earn way more than what I do, is this what it’s like to be poor.

Individual 1: I wanted to buy me a Mac laptop.

Individual 2: Those are nice, very nice indeed.

Individual 3:  I too was admiring a MacBook pro but they are so expensive.

Individual 1: It’s not that I can’t afford it; it’s just the thought that it’s so much money and I can    only buy one thing from all that money.

In South Africa the bottom of the range Apple laptops are selling R12 999. I must admit it is a beautiful machine, the style and sleek look is glorious this modern exterior shouts “You got to have me” with a powerful processor that can be compared to a Porsche motor.


Example 2

Sitting in a prayer meeting we were asked to share a moment that had touched you in the past week. A woman told her story where her brother had come to her house seeking food for his family.  Her first instinct was to turn him down and tell him that she doesn’t have food to share as she is also poor.  As she started to unpack her cupboards looking for food to give to him she realised that she could feed another family out of her very own kitchen, needless to say this was a real eye opener to her.

Example 3  

An extract from a conversation I once had:

Individual 1: We don’t have any food, I need to go to the shop to buy food and you know food is so


Individual 2: I agree with you, everything is increasing, but the pay packet doesn’t increase.

Myself: {Opens refrigerator}, frozen dinners you just need to put them in the oven to prepare them.

People can only assume what it’s like to be poor while others experience it every day. Some experience what it’s like to always be making ends meet while another family may experience the endless cycle of poverty. Poverty can be defined as “a scarcity, dearth, or the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money.  Absolute poverty or destitution refers to the deprivation of basic human needs, which commonly includes food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care and education. Relative poverty is defined contextually as economic inequality in the location or society in which people live. In summary being poor can range from making ends meet, to fasting on a daily bases for months at a time because there is nothing to eat.

Food deprived

It can include doing odd jobs for money, living out of other people’s garbage, begging for money outside restaurants to make enough money to go to a night shelter for a night or 2. Lesson learnt should be that people will never know what’s it’s like to be poor until they’ve experienced it. So give when you can it doesn’t matter how much, help when you can, volunteer when you can one step at a time to make the world a better place.

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person – Mother Teresa

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you- Mother Teresa





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