Here in Bastion, Ecuador, I’m met with a new kind of normal. Here, its normal to have a family of 8 with no car. Its normal to raise chickens as your form of income. Its normal for a whole family to live in one room with a mattress on the floor. It’s normal to make less than $200 per month for a whole family. Its normal to work all day collecting cans and bottles to turn in for pennies.
So what’s normal? Life in Hawthorne, or life in Bastion?
Statistics tell me that more people live lives mores similar to life in Bastion. According to GlobalIssues.org, “Almost half the world - over three billion people - live on less than $2.50 a day.”
So what does that mean? Since there are 365 days in a year, $2.50 a day means...
$2.50 x 365 days = $912.50 per year
Imagine living on $912.50 per year. Thats less than my meal plan at college cost for 3 months. Thats less than I spend on gas in 6 months. Thats less then a new mac!
Check out this for perspective. Imagine making $36,500 per year. That’s a relatively low paying job in our economy. But...
$36,000 ÷ 350 days = $100 per day
$100 dollars per day for a bad job in America compared to half the world living on less than $2.50 per day!
Visiting here turns statistics into faces.This is a house that Erin and I visited in a community about a half hour bus ride from us. This neighborhood is extremely poor. Notice that we are sitting on the floor. This was because she had no chairs to offer us. When we had lunch there, there was no table to eat from. The only furniture was one bed, the stove in the background, a hammock, and a small table with a tub on it which she used for a sink. There was no running water in this bamboo house.
Honestly, at times it is tough for me to be here. Things which I accept about life are being challenged. I don’t like being a rich person among poor people, but that’s what I feel like here. Its hard to spend money when I know people who are counting pennies. I guess the reason for that is my mentor was a really rich guy who gave it all up to become really poor and dedicated His life for others, and I want to be like Him.
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9