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Blog // Thoughts
October 2, 2005

Discussing Poverty With A Four Year Old

An interesting conversation developed between myself and C during the week. We were stopped at an intersection and she pointed to a collection of makeshift tented homes and said “why are those people there.” What she was pointing to were the dwellings of some families who were working on a road extension. It is quite […]

An interesting conversation developed between myself and C during the week. We were stopped at an intersection and she pointed to a collection of makeshift tented homes and said “why are those people there.” What she was pointing to were the dwellings of some families who were working on a road extension. It is quite common here to see people who live a basically nomadic life, moving from construction site to construction living in portable shanties.

I explained that those people lived there, while they were fixing the road. C then asked, “but where are their houses?” I said, “they don’t have houses, they live in those tents.” It was no surprise that she responded to this with a quizzical “why?” I went on to explain that they did not earn enough money from their work to have a house.

My daughter was a little puzzled by this, then after a minute or two blurted out; “does that mean they need eleven, but they do not have eleven, they only have ten, or six?” Despite her rudimentary mathematics, she was grasping the concept of a financial shortfall. I explained that she was understanding the problem and after a considered silence she said, “but everyone should have a house.” I couldn’t agree more.

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