Poverty is a state of deprivation, or a lack of the usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. (Wikipedia). To be deprived is to lack or be denied.
Just in case you didn’t know, i am a graduate of Mathematics and one of the units I did not enjoy much was statistics, I did prefer the ring theory and algebra. But today I will focus on statistics on poverty levels in our beloved country.
The world Bank defines extreme poverty as living below $1.9 a day. This is equivalent to ksh190.
It is estimated that in 2015, we had 43% of Kenyans, equivalent of about 18M living below the poverty index.
A report by Ipsos shows that 44% of households in Kenya earn less than 10,000 shillings a month while 33% earn between 10,000 and 25,000 shillings. Only 6% of households in kenya earn more than 40, 000 shillings per month. Only 1% of kenyan households earn 500,000 shillings a month. The 1% could be said to be called rich…..right?
The statistics are shocking but what is more disturbing is the other forms of poverty, the deprivation of our moral values. We have put material gain ahead of everything else. The get rich quickly is the theme of our young people. We want to be rich now, not any minute later, we want to be CEOS now and not a second later. We are living in an instant gratification generation. We say, I would rather cry in a Mercedes than be happy with a poor man.
Proverbs 15:16 Better little, with fear for the LORD, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil.
Psalm 37:16 It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.
Proverbs 28:6 Better to be a poor person who has integrity than to be rich and double-dealing.
The Bible in the above verses indicates that, the moral values deprivation is a worse form of poverty. Therefore if we were to research on this level of poverty, I will not be surprised to see that 98% of Kenyans are poor.Those who went to the same high school with me would remember our maths teacher once told us it is better to be a beggar in the streets than be a beggar in the house, he was telling us to work hard so that we shall not beg from our husbands.
This is the worst form of poverty because, you are not an ordinary beggar but a super beggar who have access to public funds or systems that can defraud an organization.
This is the result of moral values deprivation. We can sit and blame the government officials, but are you innocent?
During one Sunday service, our pastor said, the reason why some people are not corrupt is either because they have not had an opportunity or the cost of corruption is too high.
My son’s school has a rule that you are not supposed to pack snacks for break. I therefore made sure that my son did not carry snacks. One day he came home sick, it was food poisoning. I needed to get to the root cause of this, was it the school lunch? I called the teacher to find out how many other kids were affected and it happened that three other boys who happened to be my son’s friends were also affected. Clearly it was not the school food, we discovered that one of the boys had carried KFC chicken which they all shared. I decided to raise the issue during the parents meeting that happened after the end of the term, and I asked parents, why would you pack snacks while the school rule is do not carry snacks? I was shocked by the responses I got, parents are happy to teach their children to break rules, to be corrupt but you are busy complaining about government officials. Who taught them? Where do they come from? Who is their mother?
As a parent, how many times have you bribed your children with toys or candy because you feel guilty for coming home late every day in the name of making more to make their future better? Is it really about their future or about your own insecurities and desire for more?
Abundance vs Scarcity mentality:
I go to a church that has many attendees, in one service we have over 500 people in one sitting. We all need oxygen to live but I have never thought at any given time that oxygen can get finished and i start struggling to breath because we are many. This makes everyone relaxed, no one thinks about having or not having oxygen. This is called abundance mentality. When i was growing up, bread was very scarce but very sweet. Mum would buy bread once a month and It was never enough and given that our family was big, i always wished that mum did not give birth to so many of us. The bread would be shared, you were given your three slices and you decide whether to eat that evening or keep for breakfast. The danger with keeping for breakfast was, somebody would steal it and come morning you have none for breakfast. That is scarcity mentality. Today, i don’t find bread as sweet and its not something i would worry if i have it or not.
Many of us work in organizations where there is cat throat competition, politics is the order of the day. Everyone trying to protect their position. The level of insecurities push others to be backstabbers, just to ensure their position is safe. Instead of growth mindset, there is too much scarcity mindset. You think that if your colleague is recognized, all the recognition is finished, there is none left for you. You stop focusing on continuous improvement and you focus on competing and making your colleague look bad. you don’t think you can both excel and make the organization great.
Money is very important because lack of it is like having a car without gas/fuel, it cannot move. Therefore we need to make money and build material wealth. The problem is, we operate on scarcity mentality, we think that there is not enough for everybody and therefore we must compare ourselves with others. We think that if someone else get then we loose.
Giving a share of what you have to less fortunate, is telling yourself that there is enough for me and for everyone else. Its not about the person you give, its for your sake. It will help you think abundance.
Always focus on doing and better than you were yesterday in all areas of your life. instead of competing with other people, focus on unlocking your potential. being the best that you can be.
It is said that you are a combination of the five of your closest friends or closed associates. Over time i have discovered that i think and behave like my closest associates and mentors. Get mentors who are doing better than you in the areas that you want to improve. Another way of getting mentors is reading books. Reading reveals what is already in you, you get to understand yourself and others better.