Monday, February 24, 2014

Roadworks

I enjoyed the lovely drive to the airport this morning. There were less potholes the size of my house  and now that the rainy season is slowly creeping out, Aleisa road will look better after  maintenance. This is a well traveled road as it connects people from the west to their livelihood (jobs and schools).  Two epiphanies slapped me in the face while I was enjoying my new paved road.  One, the road is nice and smooth isn't it? Which means my poor shock absorbers will suffer less each day.  Two, while enjoying this little luxury and smiling like a dork at passerbys/drivers, it is enjoyed at what price? Luxuries are not free except for the air and sunshine so which side of my pocket will the cost of this road come from? 

Before I start spelling out the negatives and the superlatives, today on Fretbook (Facebook), the following quote was splashed out in capital letters

"By 2025 THERE WILL BE NO POOR COUNTRIES" ~Bill Gates, Philanthropist








The question is: HOW? And how does this Bill Gate quote relate to my new paved road?

The simple answer is, I don't know how this will be achieved as I have yet to read the full article.  I can say that currently there are no poor countries, it is the people within those countries that are poor but the countries themselves are not poor.  Not really.  Governments are not poor.  They have their peoples' wealth at their fingertips; resources, man power and so forth.  They have been entrusted with the people's best interests by the people with the belief that they are the best candidates to bear these responsibilities.

The Samoa Observer has been publishing many requests for help by families who cannot provide for themselves over the last few weeks.  People with families who cannot cater for themselves financially, those seeking help for a few resources, some asking the public to help build their houses so they can have more space to house growing families.  Poverty is a reality in Samoa, is it really? Poverty : the quality or state of being poor or indigent; want or scarcity of means of subsistence; indigence; need; any deficiency of elements or resources that are needed or desired, or that constitute richness; as, poverty of soil; poverty of the blood; poverty of idea.  Agree, we have people who are in stressful financial situations but who isn't in these times? Some of those asking for help look able.  They are able to work and find means to help themselves.  If we look at Samoa, no one is truly poor in terms of land, family and love.  Financially, we might be poor and if we are to compare ourselves to our neighbours, Samoa is better off. Samoa today is a much changed Samoa compared to twenty years ago.  

I remember the old market near the police station and the rubbish in town littering the streets by the non-existent side walks.  I remember the big waterholes inside the market and the seawall that was not there, where one can stare at the fish mixing with rubbish all day.  We are not stationary, we are moving forward.  The infrastructure and knowledge are both advancing.  The roads are better. We have clean running water and electricity (yes these are problematic at times).  We have internet and computers.  We have school systems in place. We have a new hospital to care for our sick. We have graduates that will build or tear down Samoa.  We are hundreds of complaints to hurl at government when all these systems break down or muck up but we are not the same Samoa as we were.

Cases of people dying from malnutrition are rare in Samoa and almost unheard of.  However, Fiji child malnutrition is expected to increase to epidemic proportions. A 2004 report by the Food and Nutrition Committee indicated that over 40% of Fiji's children are malnourished. The situation is rather acute in more disadvantaged areas, particularly in squatter settlements where around 104,000 people currently reside (Nourish Fiji Children Project, 2014). Our poor health and sanitation are the consequences of our negligence or prioritizing other things and overlooking these. What we eat and do determine the kind of lifestyle that we live.  There are lists of contributing factors leading to poor health (physical poverty) and they all start with us.  Our soils are rich and our lands are plentiful.  They are enough to sustain us if we choose to lean on them like our ancestors did before us.

We don't know how sweet we have it until we go to other third world countries.  Yes, the cost of living is rising but are there countries in the world with a constant living cost?  That is the price one must pay for development.  We complain about the roads, the government fixes them but at what price? The government coffers are not always full and it's the people that put those people in power.  If we do not like something- change it, improve it, work on it diligently until it is better.  Not sit around road corners begging for money, writing to Observer to publish cell phone numbers in the hope that some good samaritan will save us from ourselves. 

We have enough negative stories to fill our beds and heads.  I, for one am a great believer in hard work.  When one works, one has control over their finances and other aspects of life.  We are not poor of soil or blood or ideas. We are a people that toil on and believe in a God that gives hope.  We want luxuries and so we must be prepared to pay a certain price to enjoy that luxury.. to an extent. Like roads that need improvement/maintenance continuously, so are the days of our lives.

Ehhh..your grandmother was hot too!

My vision fulfilled When Dr A (fiancee) proposed 2 new years ago, I suggested a photo shoot of some sort. Of course being shy with ...