Wednesday, June 16, 2010
It is easy to see oneself as poor within the constraints of an ethnocentric existence. Fact is the United States isn't the only country in the world and despite the relative poverty that exists the material wealth of even the poorest in this country are unfathomable to many poor who reside just outside it's borders. This is a picture of the living situation of many who share this small living space on a Starbucks Coffee Farm in Nicaragua. As one of a group of students emerging from a loud tour bus filled with Ipods, Cell phones, laptops, and cameras the glares are intense and permeate throughout the humid Nicaraguan air, we were the first outside the community to experience life on this farm. When it becomes easy to complain about daily nuisances it is important to think of oneself as one piece of the global community and that one's ranking in the world is a lot higher than is often perceived.
A website that really puts things into perspective is http://www.globalrichlist.com/ It allows a person to go to the website put in their annual income and it literally ranks how rich they are. Thinking with an annual income wavering well below 10,000 a year I'd come no where close to the top but was surprised to find out even despite a low relative income I still placed in the top 13.96% of the richest people in the world. The website then goes to describe what people spend their money on everyday, a DVD, a television, and what that amount of money can buy in other countries, in some cases that amount of money can literally buy livelihood. It is unnerving that an HD television can buy the livelihood and education of an entire community which can then be passed on for generations.
The future; implicitly immeasurable but explicitly, and monetarily dictated.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
The United States is currently deciding whether or not to sign onto the Mine Ban Treaty. The Polus Center for Social and Economic Development works with landmine victims in different countries to offer services they would otherwise not have access to. It also helps victims to reintegrate into a normal lifestyle in which they can generate an income. Deans Beans and The Polus Center decided to collaborate and come up with a comprehensive solution. They decided to start a cafe and it is currently the only fully accessible handicapped cafe in Nicaragua, called the Ben Linder Cafe. Ben Linder was an American Activist, he was killed by the Contras (CIA trained and funded) in the midst of building a hydroelectric dam which would bring water and electricity to a rural village in Nicaragua. The profits of this Cafe in Ben Linder's name go to a prosthetic limb clinic not to far away called Walking Unidos. Ben Linder was also the first cafe in Latin America to roast its own coffee, the picture on the left is a picture taken when I went to Nicragua and is roaster donated by Dean Cycon from Deans Beans. There are many problems with landmines since the US Contra war and there are still landmine victims in need of assistance. If the use of landmines was not permitted to begin with people would not still be suffering from a war that ended years ago. Landmines are expensive to find and get rid of, more often than not if a country does not have the resources or political will to do so they will not attempt to remove them. Encourage President Obama to sign onto the Mine Ban! http://actnow-phr.org/campaign/obama_landmine_action
Polus Center Website on Landmines: http://www.poluscenter.org/international.html
Article in Fresh Cup Magazine on Cafe: http://www.deansbeans.com/coffee/in_the_news/detail.html?newsid=22