I’ve been reading yet another new book. How many do I have on my bedside table? Too many! Sometimes I think a kindle or a nook or some such gadget would be a good purchase for me. I could switch between the five books I’m reading at any one time with ease and I’d have nothing on the table other than my kindle/nook, reading glasses and my phone on my bedside table. I just can’t convince myself the expense is worth it.

So the newest resident on the table is When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert. I’ve been reading this book in light of my husband’s recent trip to Haiti and our desire to help in some way there. Last night, I began chapter two and a quote from Voices of the Poor: Can Anyone Hear Us was very striking in it’s effect. Voices of the Poor is a three-volume set which is the outcome of a study which the World Bank did in late 1999 and 2000. These are the words one poor person in Moldova used to describe their situation.

“For a poor person everything is terrible – illness, humiliation, shame. We are cripples; we are afraid of everything; we depend on everyone. No one needs us. We are like garbage that everyone wants to get rid of.”

This quote really bothered me. So much so, I stopped and read it to my husband. His voice said essentially the same thing I was thinking. “Why do I need a person from Haiti?”

Interesting question, isn’t it? I would venture to say that everyone I know can come up with a reason the poor need us. But why do we need them?

Muse on that for a while…

Why or how do I need the poor?