Reflections on wealth and poverty in Mexico poverty and wealth are relative concept.

Author:Cochran, Rob

At a party I recently attended in La Misi6n, a man from a plush southern California neighborhood commented that he found the poverty in Mexico shocking and depressing. It is true there is a lot of poverty in Mexico, but one thing I've noticed is that even the poorest of people have a place to live, food to eat, and usually, some kind of way to earn a few pesos; whether it's washing windows, selling gum or bracelets, braiding hair, or playing music. In the states, with all its wealth and social programs, if you don't make enough money, if you're mentally ill, if you're disabled, or even if you just have bad credit, you are likely one paycheck away from living on the streets.

What many people from the States call "Poverty" is simply a way of life. In fact, the majority of the world's population lives in what most Americans call "poverty". As long as you compare it to the "American standard" of living, then yes, it will be shocking and depressing. This is what a tourist might see, usually from the tinted windows of an airconditioned car.

But if you took a little bit closer, you'll begin to see that many of these people live wonderful lives. My friend, Luis, who works for us two days a week, lives in a two-room cinderblock house with his wife and three girls. But if you ask Luis if he's poor, he will smile and say, "I'm the richest man in the world! I built my house with my own hands, I own my property, my wife is beautiful and faithful, my family is healthy, I have a good place to work and earn a living, and I have lots of friends. I live in paradise!" Sure, he has dreams of having a bigger house and sending his girls to good schools, but what parent doesn't have these dreams? I'm fortunate enough to live in a modern house, but that doesn't mean I'm rich, nor does it mean that Luis is poor. When I go to Luis' house for dinner, I always have a great time and the food is incredible. His kids are healthy and happy, and his small house is clean and thoughtfully...

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