The circumstances of being born poor or rich is something which one cannot choose. Growing up under tough or better conditions isn’t something one can decide on. Attending a better or poor school isn’t a choice of a child. Being able to go to school with or without a uniform is something beyond every child’s control. Walking to school for approximately 10km without shoes in a hot day or wearing expensive shoes and enter the latest car to go to school surely has nothing to do with the child’s decision. Spending the whole day at school without eating anything, sometimes not even drinking water or making a heavy breakfast before leaving for school and take with yourself a huge lunch box of food to school is nothing a child can be able to have a word to say.
Growing up without having access to technology such as phones, computers etc. or playing around with technology isn’t something a child can decide on. Being forced to take shower so that you can have access to watch a local drama on a small black and white television or watching international films on very big color televisions, even without bathing for one week truly it’s something a child cannot do anything on. Feeling so lonely at a prize giving day at school when your parents can’t come to congratulate you because they will be working at a white man’s farm day and night or receiving many beautiful presents isn’t something a child can choose. Spending the whole holidays in the villages heading cattle’s or spending the entire holiday at a very beautiful touristic place is not of any child’s decision. People have different family backgrounds which makes them to have different achievements. If it was a choice for every child to choose which family he/she prefers to grow up in, I believe almost everyone could choose a family with better standards of living. Because no one would want to grow up under tough conditions so that he/she can become a victim of the rich people’s showcasing and prestigious behavior.
It’s only those who grew up under those hard conditions who can testify how it feels to be labelled a poor person. Because the rich people can take advantage of you and make you feel that you are a useless person with no social value at all. You are made to feel that you are worthless in the society, even when you contribute some useful ideas people will say stop wasting our time. Unfortunately in the societies we live today poor people are made to regret why they are poor. Some people victimize others in the name of motivation. Let me tell you true motivation can never hurt someone but rather it inspires someone to achieve. Nowadays everyone has the right to live in his/her own way. Thus neither a poor person nor a rich person has the right confront or interfere in another person’s life. But it’s a fact that people should have social ethics and be able to recognize some socially unacceptable behaviors which tends to make others feel uncomfortable.
After having explained all this let me give you a tangible example of how important is every human being despite of wealth, social status, education etc. Taking an example of a funeral especially in Africa. When there’s a funeral it is those who are called useless, poor, uneducated people who tend to give a true meaning of a funeral. That is to say they are the first to arrive at the funeral extending condolences and immediately start to organize for firewood, drums, cleaning making necessary arrangements for the funeral to be conducted well. Those same people they spend the whole night singing, dancing and beating drums so as to comfort the people who are mourning.
In addition these same people they work up very early in the morning and go to dig the grave for the deceased. Then finally when it’s burial time that’s when the rich people will arrive and bury the deceased for few minutes, leave cabbages and some food stuffs and drive back to their homes. Why did I choose to explain the importance of the so called poor people using this example? It’s because I want you to understand that if it’s not of the love which these people show you during your painful time such as funeral. Then believe it or not you cannot even cry or make all your riches sympathize with you.
In addition to the above bit it in offices, work places or public places you see someone stepping on top of a wet floor whilst someone is busy cleaning. Yes at that moment your mind is telling you that why should I respect this cleaner whilst I’m the boss owning this company with whole lots of wealthiest. Definitely that’s a socially unacceptable act because if that person wasn’t important then he/she wouldn’t be employed to do that job. Note it’s because of that cleaner that you can be able to use the toilet several times because you always find in clean and user friendly.
In conclusion let me say yes a child cannot decide on which background to grow up in but a child can decide on the conditions which he/she wants his family and parents to live under as they grow older. Some authors say that being born poor it’s not the reason to die poor. Surely if you really work very hard you can change your life for good. In contrast being born in a rich family doesn’t guarantee you the same living conditions tomorrow. Therefore the future depends on how you want it to be. It depends on your approach towards life. Being rich, poor, educated and uneducated, useless or useful doesn’t matter, what really matters is humanity. Treating each other with respect will make us achieve more and be able to create a conducive environment for us all.
Writer: Perego Timothy
A Researcher at Center For Africa Strategic Studies (AFSAM)