I often quickly reach in my pocket and give money. It is sad, the level of poor here. People in the US probably don’t know but poor gets much worse in other countries. You are thinking poor is poor right? Wrong. I am talking about the first time I saw it. I was in the Philippines, I was going down a street on a tricycle (motorcycle and side car, common transportation in the Philippines). I saw a mother washing her new born. Not in a bathtub or under an outdoor shower. No, I saw her kneeling down to the curb side and she was scooping water running along the curb to wash her new born baby. The baby was so new that it had an wooden clothes pin still on the freshly cut umbilical cord.
If you have never been outside the US you do NOT know poor. Even if you were homeless, twice like me, my mother and my sister. You do not know poor. We had a car the first time, the second time we had no car, we had to live in a shelter home with tons of other homeless. This was a nightmare back when I was 13 and 17 years old. Now I am older and smarter, I have seen a few things. That shelter was the Hilton compared to most homes in poor countries. Here there is little or no government handouts. You have to beg for money and there is no shortage of beggars here in Ho Chi Minh. I recently learned many are also Cambodian with no identification. Many people here who are native have no identification. They were born and raised into a life of poverty from day one. Many young and beautiful people do not speak English even though they have been teaching schools in English here for over 15 years. This means these young and beautiful people often in their 20’s never finished school. They went straight to work as soon as they were tall enough (not old enough). No one gives a damn about laws here, it is a free for all. I see child labor everywhere. I worked since I was 10 years old but not in a sweat shop.
To give you another example, I use Google translate here about 200 times a day. Sometimes I see that they are confused when I show them the phone. Maybe they thought I was going to show a map or pictures. When they see it is text they nod no and walk away. It took me only a short while to realize that many here are illiterate. This makes sense in light of what I just said about many skipping school.
About being poor. When it gets bad, real bad you have to chose between paying a bill or feeding yourself. At the end of the day you have to eat. Is school free, not really. If you are poor, poor you gotta go to work like everyone else if you want a roof over your head with your 4-8 other siblings. Most Asian families are huge. This may sound funny but it’s not joke, if your broke you aren’t buying condoms either. Sad but true poor people without jobs stay home and screw. More babies are made and the situation worsens. It is sad but I also believe it doesn’t have to be.
You will find other posts where I say, people are not always homeless by choice. Sometimes a string of very bad luck can put a family into a shelter. For example, a single mother, who is a Registered Nurse moves into a house in the summertime and immediately notices they railing on the 5 steps outside the house is wobbly and asked the new landlord to fix it. He doesn’t because he is a dirt bag. My mom is often late with rent but always catches up, she feels she doesn’t have the right to complain about the railing when the rent is late. Winter comes, my mom steps out the door first, landing on ice skidding to the railing which now breaks and fails five feet to the driveway with more ice. My mother shatters her ankle. Pause here for a moment and remember all the time you have spent in the hospital as a patient or a visitor. Do you ever recall seeing a nurse pushing a medicine cart with a cast on her leg? No. Because you cannot work as a nurse with a cast on your leg, you have to be able to move fast. Rush to rooms with crash carts etc. The dirt bag landlord then had the nerve to put our stuff in the street. Who do you call when you have no one? My mother had no one. Many people have no one.
As much as I look back and think about some better choices my mother could have made, I also respect the living heck out of her because she NEVER leaned on a man. I see how men are now that I am older. I too am a man, but I like to think I am good man. I know other men, bad men. Men who only want to help if they get something in return. These men sicken me because every woman is someones daughter or mother. Women need to be empowered. In America they are really starting to figure it out, that you do NOT need a man to survive. Many women in America have their ducks in a row, like my sister. She is holding it down just like my mother did, only better. She too has learned from some of moms mistakes. She is also raising a child. Thank God she finally has a guy I actually like. I take that back, I love you Pauly. Thanks for taking care of my girls while I am away. I know they are a handful. You are good man, stay that way.
I help people because I want to, it makes me happy. I give it all away. I am single. I usually say “This is America, I can do whatever I want!” Many of you are Americans. If you are know our reputation is slowly tarnishing in other parts of the world. So in your travels try to be the best American that you can be. You are a first impression “of wherever you come from”, most of the time, remember that.
I saw this picture on my way home last night, this is poor. She is someones daughter.
Call your mother, tell her you love her.