Months ago I went to a marble quarry, actually the best quality marble in Peru. To do that I have to cross two cities and walk some kilometers. But meanwhile I was waiting for a bus in middle of the road I saw a coin, this coin, lying alone in the ground. I took a picture and after that used it to buy an apple with an intense red not just because the apple looked so delicious but I wanted a contrast of color with the white marble quarry.
The coin under the sun of the morning seemed a treasure in the poor road, and made me think about the poverty at our high altitudes. Every year there is help from governments, organizations, armies of foreigners but not much in my native city that is seen as rich with its fabrics and universities.
A reason of the support and help is the cold temperature; the poverty of homes; the malnutrition of children and the lack of education. Certainly when you read about someone ranting about how can the nations spend in space ships while poor people dies in other countries, and those other countries are sometimes the mine, and exactly the region where I live.
Sadly reality is more complex than desires. When I was in school the country was in a little war against terrorists. They destroyed roads and energy plants, so there was no much water or light, and in the class we had classmates, friends, so poor that the richest of us shared with them a bread whose monetary value today would be one thirtieth of the coin in the photo: that coin today worth 0.33 US dollars. Actually the richest of us hardly could afford a piece of cake… Time passed, war finished, some classmates died not of bullets but oblivion in a country where we were just distant frontier’s children.
I think cold can’t kill us, our bodies have evolved to endure it, I have problems indeed with the heat of the coast and its strong summer; nor the poverty, some day I felt myself so much hunger and I never forget that one of the friends we supported share with me his bread, someone with money can have painful troubles and someone without it not necessarily unaware of happiness (we played a lot :P); malnutrition is indeed a problem but not of money, I think is about priorities because usually some of the parents of my classmates could spend like thirsty camels in beer; lack of education is the real problem: to go to the school we are forced to learn Spanish and Catholic religion and forget who we are. For that reason my blog isn’t in Spanish in a way of protest, not against the Spanish language that gave the words of Borges but I simply cannot feel it as my language.
I think the help in donations is being misguided because it’s helping to boost mendicity instead development. My city without the help now has more than a quarter of inhabitants and we are richer despite the lack of education because we once were a rich civilization before the invasion, and we can rebuilt ourselves. But the towns with help are instead small and is notorious that people there knows that remaining poor they can get more and more “help” So, despite the difficulties I am happy that we have not foreign help.
And every time I read about somebody claiming about the futility of science and the waste of spatial exploration I cannot avoid to thing that those persons cannot understand their privileges: they can make a phone call to save their lives using an apparatus that due to the deformed spacetime needs a satellite that needs to work with theory of relativity calculus. Instead my childhood teach me that precisely the people that destroyed the energy towers to force us ideologies, in which they would be kings, and said that first are humans and science or culture are secondary were the people that caused the death of so many friends. It wasn’t the poverty the problem, it was people trying to help or people trying to impose its thoughts.
In that I thought when I saw the coin. Spend your money in be happy and get your dreams, bread is not the one thing that world needs, also is nice to see people with goals to inspire us ;-)