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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pushed to the edge

Without a doubt, the worldwide financial downturn and accompanying recession are creating challenges for many of us here in the developed world.

For the poor, billions of souls who live in a state of permanent recession, these times are more than merely challenging, they are profoundly difficult, dreadful and even deadly.

Recent estimates from the World Bank state that upwards of 400,000 more children will die every year for the foreseeable future because of the worldwide financial downturn.

In the developed world, we are able to muster the courage to believe that the recession will eventually pass. The “good life”, a product primarily of where we live, and the opportunities afforded us, will eventually return.

Our brothers and sisters in the developing world share no such hope. Their courage, however, far exceeds ours when you consider what it takes to survive day to day in an environment that has none of the accoutrements we are accustomed to: clean water, universal health care, government stimulus packages, employment insurance and the kind of hope only opportunity can create.

For the poor, life continues along a trajectory that all but guarantees their lives will go from bad to worse in the coming months - if in fact worse is actually possible.

In times like these, we are more likely to speak about what we have lost, not what we have gained or for that matter retained, despite the recession.

By comparison, the conversation in the world’s poorest communities is more likely to focus on what has been gained, however modest by our standards: a meager meal for the day, a child surviving past the age of five, a modest crop harvested from a field tilled with the most rudimentary of tools, a glass of clean water.

Friend, we should, despite the challenges we may be experiencing right now, consider ourselves unbelievably blessed. We are mourning the loss of some of our worldly wealth. Not mourning the loss of family members as will most certainly be the case in the coming months as the poor find themselves pushed even further to the margins of existence as a result of the financial downturn.

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