Poverty and Wealth: Two Sides Of The Same Coin

The World is split in half. On one side there's poverty, on the other wealth. What are we going to do about it, you and me?

I must have been around 5 or 6 years old when I saw it for the first time.

I remember jumping off the car without knowing what was out there. All of a sudden, my shoes were covered in mud. I remember how uncomfortable that was.

As I turned my head to the left I saw a landscape I will never forget.

It was this kid about my age at the time. Full of mud, he was playing with a piece of metal in his hand. Very focused, he seemed to be enjoying himself.

Small houses, one next to the other, surrounded him. They were more like little huts made of adobe and scrap metal. I remember rubbish everywhere and a particularly strong smell.

My father, a civil engineer, was working on a project in that area. That's how I ended up there.

I'm sure he wanted to teach me a lesson that day. And he did.

Next thing I remember, I was back in the car. I felt sad and grateful at the same time. It was a powerful feeling.

At that point, it struck me. I realised how blessed I was. "Dad, I'm so lucky to have been born where I have, right?" I said.

I realised I had been given so much, and without doing anything in particular. I just was very blessed to have been born where I had.

Truth is, there are more chances of being born in extreme poverty than in wealth. And the fact that you are reading this means that you have more than at least half the world's population.

We just don't realise it. And if we do, we don't want to. It just feels too uncomfortable.

It's as if the world was split in half. There are two sides to the same coin. It's unfortunate.

On one side of the world, people have nothing.

Children die of starvation right after they are born. Those that are lucky enough to survive may end up dead of curable diseases later on. They lack potable water, food, infrastructure, and most importantly, education.

Those that are lucky enough NOT to be born in extreme poverty are born in poverty. Things like food, water and shelter are more accessible to them. Yet, they still lack the most essential element of all: education.

And without education, there's no hope. There's no hope for a brighter future because they believe the lie that there is nothing they can do to change. And the corruption that usually controls these places does everything it can to make sure that it stays that way.

Has that muddy kid had the chance to go to school? I don't know. I hope he has.

On the other side of the world, we have everything.

Food, potable water, shelter, health and education are just the basics. We also have cars, houses, access to the internet, all sorts of gadgets like smartphones, tablets and watches. We even have smart light bulbs.

And we have more than we can handle.

We have so much that we don't know what to do with it.

We have money, but we don't invest it on meaningful things because we are afraid we won't have enough to pay the mortgage or buy the latest "new thing".

We have the knowledge, but we don't take action because we are afraid of failing.

We have time, but we don't do meaningful things because we go after a pointless but "safe" job.

We have access to high-quality food, yet we overeat highly processed foods that make us fat and sick.

We have values, but we don't live by them because we can't stand feeling uncomfortable.

We have dreams, but we are full of excuses for why they will never happen.

Apparently, we even pour gold on ourselves in the name of art?

We have everything, yet we don't have meaningful lives because we don't believe we can.

This is not good enough.

That kid playing with that piece of metal, covered in mud, could have been you or me. Or we could have starved to death.

Yet, we've been so lucky that we were born in wealth. Yes, maybe more, maybe less, but wealth none the less.

It's baffling to me.

In the western world, we fight for equality, we preach that we should all be the same. We understand that all lives have equal value, irrespective of what we do with them.

Yet, we turn our heads from these hungry kids.

I sometimes wonder if there is still hope for them. Then I think that there has to be. Otherwise, what's the point of it all?

We know we should do something about it, but we don't. Inaction fuelled by fear. Fear of being ridiculed if we fail.

We have been given so much, yet we don't do anything meaningful with it. And we wonder why we are not living fulfilling lives. We wonder why we are still unhappy.

What are we going to do with all that has been given to us? What can we do with what we already have?

We have to start somewhere, so I suggest that we fight malnutrition. In fact, we've already started.

Our 2018-2019 coaching group donated 25 kilos and US$980 towards educating children who live in extreme poverty.

The world is demanding that we change. And fast.

Now is the time to give back our resources, our time, our skills, our creativity. It's time to empower people to grow and become better. It's time to educate; it's time to help.

I know that together we can do something meaningful. I know we can make the world a better place.

So, what are we going to do, you and me?

When I jumped off that car, I didn't know what to expect, yet I jumped anyway. Are we going to jump off now?

Photo by Danka & Peter

After all, what's the worst that could happen if we tried?

Who knows, we may end up living meaningful lives after all.

- Coach Luciano

PS. Do you want to see how we are fighting malnutrition? Click here.

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