25 August, 2010

Necessary “hand outs”

The World Food Bank has many programs in Cambodia, one of which directly supports people living with HIV-AIDS. Once a month a large flatbed pulls into Wat Opot containing large white bags of rice, boxes of packages of palm oil and salt. These are monthly rations given to the villagers who have a family member with HIV-AIDS - ½ a bag of rice, some oil and salt given to supplement their monthly food supply.

Different countries finance the monthly rations and this month it was Australia. I have heard that this program will end next year. So next year at this time, people will have to make due without the extra food items. This is very troubling since this area is in a drought. It’s the rainy season with no rain. The rice fields are not being planted because of this. These rice (paddy) fields are cracking dry. With no rice crop, families will not have food next year. Rice is their staple crop and unlike mass farming and a grocery store on every corner, this is a rural land in the true sense. People are farmers, that is their livelihood – not to resale, but to feed their family.

With no rice this season, what will these people do next year when their current stock is gone. There are no jobs to fall back on. No way for these people to make money in order to buy food. There is no government to help them. It’s a poor country through and through.

I am reminded of the “likes” I unfortunately see way to often on FaceBook. One struck me hard the other day. Something about ‘liking’ that people on welfare should be drug tested. Obviously someone can have their own opinion; it’s a free country nonetheless. What makes my skin crawl is the downright thoughtlessness people casually click on these ‘likes’…and to what purpose? Suppose others (like myself) go through an intelligent thought process. A thought process in that case would be something like

“Where will the money come from to pay for said testing?”

“Who will pay for the extra administrative roles to document who has been tested and who hasn’t?”

“Who will pay for the extra manpower it will take to administer the tests monthly…weekly…?”

So I guess Taxpayers will pay for it? - Let’s overburden an already overburdened government shall we…and give people more to bitch about when their taxes are increased to pay for something they supported?

Whose ego shouts ‘victimization’! Are the poor victims the one who have to pay taxes?…taxes, some of which goes to take care of those less fortunate…those whose life may have made a turn for the worse…or those whose life started out bad and then went to worse. Who are those FaceBook likers who concentrate on the negative in everything (Are they really "friends"?  Are they people I would want to hang around?  To have conversation with?). Those who think they can decide who gets what and who doesn’t. THEY of course KNOW that ALL people on welfare are drug addicts. They surely MUST be, right?! Welfare recipients couldn’t possibly be people just like them (just with less money)…As long as those who are different (culturally, religiously, racially, sexually, etc..) are labeled as "the other" people can feel free to discriminate and 'the perfect people' can go on manning their daily drone bombers.

I’m a Realistic Idealist…or an Idealistic Realist…my eyes are not blind to those who take advantage of government handouts. There are greedy people on both ends of the financial spectrum, but there is no doubt in my mind that there are far more genuinely needy people on welfare than there are con-artists and drug addicts. The needy people are who I choose to concentrate my attention on. I also believe in helping those needy in other ways, education, job skills, etc. WHAT!! Use tax money to decrease the cycle of poverty??

I am certain that there are some who take advantage of the World Food Bank's food handouts.  A family member who picks up the rice and then sells it for alcohol.  Big f-ing deal!  Maybe we should use the money given to support the program to follow EVERYONE home to make sure the rice gets eaten by those who need it.  Maybe we should do home visits everyday in every rural community to make sure of it.  Sometimes a massive 'letting go' is needed.  Letting go of Control and adding a little faith, trust and humanity.

The government in an underprivileged country such as Cambodia, cannot take care of their less fortunate people, and I find it disheartening that in a rich country there are those who can but for selfish (lack of compassion?, egotistical?, self-centered?...) reasons don’t want to. But at lease I find some comfort in my ‘hide’ (and sometimes ‘delete’) button and then I run out to give someone less fortunate a hug.

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