Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Poverty in perspective

© BI Davis http://www.myangeladay.com/

Today I saw a photo of a woman preparing a meal in a Calcutta slum in The Guardian newspaper, and it struck me how simultaneously the image is both romantic and despairing. The woman clearly has a relationship to the earth, a partner and child and an aesthetic taste which is increasingly copied in the west. At the same time, the journalist mentions that raw sewage flows past the homes. The women are mostly poorly paid cleaners and most of the men are scavengers 'gleaning a pitiful living from recycling the waste of Delhi's 14 million inhabitants'. Here in the west, recycling is encouraged. There it is a necessity. There, a strong relationship can be necessary for survival. Here we consider it optional with ever increasing divorce rates or people living alone. There, vegetables and rice are staple to diet. Here, cooking anything apart from a TV dinner or calling up a takeaway is par for the course. Who is truly rich? The angel looks on and there is a suspicion of a smile on the woman's face.