Community and Poverty





Community and Poverty

Coming to Thailand, I was amazed by the great sense of community that I saw. From everywhere, to the School, the elephant camp, the Hmong village and the Elder Home. This sense of community really spoke to me because it’s not something I see often in the states. It’s also something I miss seeing. Growing up in Guyana, there was always a sense of community and strong bonds with families, neighbors and villages. I was very excited when I saw that sense of community here because it reminded me of home and it reminded me of my own values. When we were at the Elder home and they were talking about reasons for these elders to end up there, one of the reason was because they were abandoned. I can’t imagine what kind of person could and would do that to their own parents. Especially if the come from a culture that values community so much. That was one thing that really stuck out to me and just stayed in my head through out the day. It made me think about what if that were my parents, I could never imagine myself abandoning my parents. That experience just made me think a lot about how I let over community, especially within my family.

Another thing I noticed about community is that Thai people, as well as the different ethnic are very welcoming and caring people. From walking down the streets, to the hotel staff, going to the school, village and elder home, everyone has made us feel welcomed. When the students at the school took time to prepare our lunch for us, I thought that was amazing. Their hospitality towards strangers was something I admired. I especially appreciated how welcomed I felt in the Hmong village. I know that the Chief, and whom I believe was his sons, and the other folks that were showing us around and helping us out, they took time out of their day to accommodate us. I’m sure they had other things to do, like their jobs or helping out to take care of other things around the village. I just found it amazing how great everyone in this country has been towards us, and how inclusive they have been.

One thing I absolutely loved was that though there’s so much poverty here, an example is the school and the Hmong village, the children were so happy, they were carefree and just enjoying themselves. Seeing that makes me so happy because since I was once that child. But since I’ve been in the US, I became so dependent on material things that I forget about how much happiness can come from just the very simple things in life. Seeing the joy in these kids, I’m amazed and it also helps me reflect on my life and I think about all the things I take for granted. They have inspired me so much that I’m already thinking about ways to lessen myself of material things when I go back to the states.

Overall, one main thing I’ve noticed is that poverty and community is something that’s very intertwined. In the places with more poverty there’s more community which is something that makes me think about us as a society and our own values

3 thoughts on “Community and Poverty”

  1. Verona,
    I absolutely loved the last paragraph of your post. I had never thought of those two themes being connected but I think you are spot on. Why is it that in situations of extreme poverty, the bonds between families and friends are so strong? Maybe because increased vulnerability creates increased feelings of community, a “We are all in this together” mentality. Hmm.

    You’re such a thinker!

  2. Verona,

    I was also shocked when I heard that some of the elders had been abandoned. I think poverty could have something to do with that as well because taking care of an elderly person can be expensive. Also, since Thai families work together as a unit maybe once the elderly cannot contribute anymore they are seen as less of an asset? Just a thought! It’s definitely an interesting and sobering topic to think about.

  3. Verona, Especially since I missed the Elder Care, it is helpful to hear your experience in light of your theme. It is nourishing to hear you processing your own growing up in light of what you see with kids and communities. Deep and thoughtful and clear post. Thanks.

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