Barrie Adleberg
Digital Play Designer
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Imitunu

Imitunu means "wide open eyes" in Kinyarwanda.

REVERSING THE POVERTY MENTALITY

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How do you define poverty? To me it is depletion of the resources humans need in order to survive. These resourcesinclude food and water (bodily sustenance) and shelter. But is shelter limited to the physical roof over your head or could it be interpreted as emotional connectedness in love and family? Can a human live with the absence of love?

When we, Muzungos, walk through any community we tend to accumulate a following of neighborhood children.  It is as if we were dropping candies or luring them with a pipe.  They are enamored by "the white" of our skin.  Thiswas the case as we traveled through the Kimironko district of Kigali.  It was hard not to notice that several of the young boys tagging along were carrying plastic containers of glue that they would stiff periodically.  The glue fumes get them high and serve as an appetite suppressant. As we walked together I was startled as violent shouts erupted.  A teenager grabbed one of the young boys in our entourage and twisted his arm with so much intensity it seemed he wanted to detach it from the boy's shoulder.  Several people attempted to pry the boys apart and it was then that I realized the teenager was trying to steal the boy's glue. 

Hunger is very real here. Resources in the village are abundant compared to many other places around the country. Agahozo Shalom is attempting to do many things including providing meals 3 times a day, but many of our children pile there plates as if they won't have another meal in the foreseeable future. They serve themselves mountains of beans and potatoes until the dish is dry, even if their brothers and sisters have not yet eaten. Sharing is a very difficult concept to convey to someone who is cultured to expect only what he/ she can grab. I am confident they are learning and will continue to learn, but how do you show someone that love will nourish them? How do you communicate "love" as a source of sustenance and protection?  

Barrie AdlebergComment