Replying to LO28553 --
Don Dwiggins <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
>It seems to me that the root of despair is hopelessness,
>the belief that nothing can be done, that one has tried
>every possibility and come up empty-handed.
Greetings dear Dwig,
You are right, this family and many like them have no hope any more for a
better future. The primary source for hope is spiritual emergences from
within -- a spiritual ruggedness. But what is striking in this family and
many others like them is that poverty has become an equilibrium state for
them -- a spiritual flatland stretching beyond the horisons of their
>First, it seems to me that the woman's family could
>be a source of strength, not just a burden.
>Create little rituals of appreciation and celebration
>of the relationships.
Thank you for this fine suggestion. We will focus more on it. The problem
is the two boys. The oldest one should have left the household to make a
living on his own. But he thinks he supports the mother, but actually she
supports him more than he supports her. We have suggested to the mother
that the oldest sun have to leave home so as to learn how to support
himself. Only then can he really support others. But she is still very
much against it.
The youngest son is not so much mentally handcapped that he cannot make it
on his own. However, he was trained in a special school as a carpenter in
the mental model that he will get a job in a protected environment. He now
expects work to come to him rather than seeking self for it. He, in my
wife's and my opinion, is the one within the family who drains the free
energy of all the others.
>Expanding the circle: you say of the environment that
>it "destroys that support faster than what we can provide".
>Are there other families in the environment undergoing this
What I meant is that in all their experiences the percieve a world which
does not care a cent for them. Except for us and another family in the
caravan park, they have no friends who can bestow love on them. They
belong to our parish like three other families in the same predicament.
But the general opinion of others in the parish is that they have become
poor and now will stay poor. How i wish i could break the necks of fellow
Christians showing so little hope for them.
As for the family's close families (brothers and sisters of the late
father and the mother), they began to distract them for all sorts of
reasons when it became clear that the father had terminal cancer. The lest
six months they gave no help at all. Were it not for us taking him to
hospital and back and in the end the mother to visit him at hospital, i do
not know what would have become of them.
In our neighbourhood there are about a dozen of these poor fanilies. In my
ward as elder i have to cope with three of them. Fortunately two of them
have got small flats to live in while the third family was given
graciously by an Islam businessman a house free to live in. But in other
neighbourhoods close to ours there are hundreds of them. It is so worse
that some angels of love prepare daily food packages to give to hundreds
of children in schools for whom it will be the only food that they will
get that day.
>Re: "The mother does not want to contact a qualified
>social worker at all. She fears that as soon as she do
>that, her young daughter will be taken away and put
>into foster care." You might be able to research this,
>to find out to what extent her fears are justified.
We are in close contact with a social worker. She says that it is not at
all her intention to break up families, but rather keep them together. She
wants to help this family and we get good advice from her, but she cannot
come into the solution unless the mother asks her to. The problem is that
the mother knows that the oldest two boys will have to go and suspect that
the social worker will also give this advice to her.
>I remember some of your stories of encountering the
>indigenous people of the deserts you've explored.
>I have a mental picture (which may be completely
>wrong) of a community of such people, living in a spare
>and unforgiving environment, possessed possibly of even
>fewer material resources than the family you're caring for;
>and yet, they've survived in this environment for generations,
>having a viable community and a generally positive
>approach to life.
Yes, you do not have it wrong. These people rely on their inner knowledge,
individually and together, for survival rather than external support
systems provided by a highly organised community. Their sense for
"irreversible self-organisation" is incredible. The whole of the western
world may fell into a great depression like in the thirties and it will
not have the slightest effect on them.
The problem with this family and thousands of them just here in Pretoria
is that they were brought up with the idea that society organises itself
to care for the poor. They were not poor then and society could help many
of the poor. Now they are poor and society can help only a few among the
many poor. They have become completely disillusioned with society's
ability and motivation to care for the poor.
>... about an organization, begun in Bangladesh,
>called the Grameen Bank. This is an institution
>formed to combat the "culture of poverty" through
>a radical concept (radical at least to the banking
>community) called "microcredit".
Thank you very much for this information. I will look into it. Now I know
why all the major banks here in South Africa began with "microcredit"
departments and why all of them have burnt their fingers, so much so that
one got hopelessly bankcrupt while another has to be kept in business by
the Reserve Bank -- two to go would just be too much to bear. The Grameen
principle is to use microcredits to help the poor to overcome their
poverty. Here it is used to extend the business of the rich to the poor.
With care and best wishes
At de Lange <email@example.com> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa
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