Christmas Thoughts

Looking past the bargains at poverty around the world

By Valeria Berumen
Published on LatinoLA: December 20, 2003

Christmas Thoughts

It has become routine for those of us living in America trying to make ends meet to complain about our struggles. Especially during this time of year, when so much is expected of us and so much is at stake; buying just the right gifts for the right people, and making the right impression at just the right moments.

But in the middle of hustle and bustle we should always take a moment to reflect and to count our blessings, because as the saying goes ?The grass is always greener on the other side.? Imagine how green our lives must appear to those glancing at us from the rest of the world!

According to the Human Development Report (HDR) 2003, there are 900 million people living in absolute poverty.

So, if you had enough food to eat today, consider yourself among 80% of the luckiest people in the world. As every day, 827.5 million undernourished people; about 20% of the world?s populations, go hungry.

And if you are reading this message, then consider yourself among 75% of the luckiest people in the world. One quarter of adults in the developing world cannot read or write; that is 879 million illiterate adults in the world.

For us women we should feel twice as blessed as two-thirds of this group is made of women.

And if you had the opportunity to shower or bathe this morning without having to do more than just turn the faucet, then you are among the 20% of the world?s luckiest people. About 1.1 billion people -- that is one in five-- do not have access to safe water.

Moreover, if you have enough money for gifts, then you are truly blessed. There are 1,169 million people living on less than $1 per day.

So, while you're out hunting for the perfect bargain at discount empires like Wal-Mart, Target and the like, remember that the people who made that $8.63 polo shirt down in Honduras, Brazil, or even Ciudad Juarez, is most likely someone who looks, feels, loves, hurts, cries, sings, dances, prays, worries, thinks about tomorrow, dreams, and wishes for better just like you and me.

Statistics gathered entirely from HDR 2003.

About Valeria Berumen:
Un angel que no tiene alas, que no buela, y que no hace milagros.

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