Poverty around the world

Each of us has his burden to carry, his own bundle of woes to endure through his life.  One of the benefits of travel is that we are reminded that there are always those worse off, materially, than ourselves.  Following is a selection of images, focusing on poverty, that I have collected over the years.  I’ll start with a family in China, which faced their dire circumstances admirably:

They owned one book, The Sayings of Confucius, and little else.  They refused any donations.

The last Jews of Medzibuzh, Ukraine.  They were not born in Medzibuzh but had arrived after the war.  My paternal grandfather was born in Medzibuzh.  This couple expected donations from visitors and they were not nearly as poor as the Chinese family above, but their house would be considered a hovel by Western standards.  Actually there are still many Jews in Medzibuzh, but they are in the cemeteries:

My search for ancestors was futile since they didn’t use family names until very recently.  The tombstones only say “so-and-so the son/daughter of so-and-so” and the date of death.

This is inside a house in Luxor, Egypt.  Aside from this livestock area, the entire extended family lived in one room.  They had no privacy whatsoever.

Here are members of the family outside their home.  Basically, I wandered the streets, dressed in a galabiyah – but obviously a tourist because of my camera – and accepted invitations for tea.  Of course I gave them a donation.

Beggar kids in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Could you imagine eking out a living selling bananas in Antananarivo?

That mattress is somebody’s home in Antananarivo.

Poverty is the norm in most of the world.  Affluence, such as most of us have in America, is the exception.  We would do well to serve as a model for the rest of the world, not a mecca.

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18 Responses to Poverty around the world

  1. Georgia Resident says:

    “We would do well to serve as a model for the rest of the world, not a Mecca.”
    Well said.

  2. jmperry says:

    Madagascar? I’m impressed. You’re very well-traveled.
    The Egyptian family looks part-black, especially in the second picture. Not what I would have expected for Egypt, even the southern part.

  3. Matty says:

    Searching for one’s past via ancestors is always interesting.
    I will never cease to be amazed by the ingenuity and tenacity of the poor.

  4. countenance says:

    Photos like this prove why merely removing the benefit magnets for illegal immigration in lieu of real border security won’t work. Life just sucks that badly in most of the rest of the world.

  5. destructure says:

    “We would do well to serve as a model for the rest of the world, not a Mecca.”
    I agree. If one wants to help them then they should help them over there. Regardless, bringing them here won’t solve the problems of the third world. It will just turn our country into the third world.
    A bit off topic but since you’re into family history you might check out the original records available on Family Search. I don’t know how much help it would be overseas but I’ve found it to be pretty good.
    Also, Ancestry has a feature where you can load your information in an online tree and it will show possible matches in another tree. You have to pay a fee to actually see the matches but if it’s a good match then it could take you back several generations with the click of a button. Of course, you’ll want to verify anything you find online for yourself.

    • jewamongyou says:

      Thanks for the links! As for the genealogy, there’s not much you can do if your family is Jewish and from Eastern Europe. Pretty much everything was destroyed.

      • destructure says:

        Maybe. But you never know what someone has squirreled away in their attic. It used to be tradition for people to write births, deaths & marriages in a family bible. I’m sure Jews did something like that, too. Sooner or later everything makes it to the net. Your folks were from Lithuania weren’t they? Have you ever tried Litvak? Go dig around on the site. And if you don’t find anything leave a message. Sooner or later someone will read it who knows something.

      • Gay State Girl says:

        Thanks for the link to Litvak. There’s not much information about Memel, but I can find it. I can trace my family back to the early 19 century.

  6. Bay Area Guy says:

    @ Destructure
    Regardless, bringing them here won’t solve the problems of the third world. It will just turn our country into the third world.

    Well said. As James Edwards would say, you can’t have a 1st world nation with a 3rd world population.
    As Jared Taylor also pointed out, we claim to be fighting poverty and low educational standards, yet we keep importing poor and uneducated people (mostly from Mexico).
    Just look at California, whose educational system competes with states in the Deep South for lowest rank, where Hispanics are 50% of public school students (and that number is only rising, even in Orange County, which is often thought of as some rich white enclave).

  7. LBD says:

    One of the things that strikes me about the Chinese hovel is that so little effort has been made by the residents to make it neater or more esthetic. A coat of whitewash (paint is expensive in the third world), a little curtain around the shelf to hide the objects underneath, a wall hanging or picture of some kind would cheer the place up. I know that the people are dirt poor, but they don’t seem to have any spirit of decoration or love of color for art’s sake. I sense a great passivity which might be a reason for the extreme poverty.

  8. McGillicuddy says:

    Aside from the Madagascar photos, it really does’t look so bad. I kind of like the Chinese couple’s cozy set-up, and I might add that they themselves seem pretty fat and happy.

  9. Anon says:

    Unfortunately for the rest of the world, our model is based on not sending our population growth parabolic at every opportunity. They chose 10 children families with the technology we spread to them, while we chose prosperity.

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