The true face of poverty

I f anyone in the country understands what poverty is, then it is the family living in a ramshackle hut in the far corner of the country. A family that finds solace in a temporary structure barely enough to shield them from the natural elements.

The roof of the hut is made from banana leaves which cannot drain out the heavy downpour during the monsoons. The bamboo mat railing wall of the house does not insulate the hut. During the winter, the cold seeps directly inside from the wide holes in the railing wall and the bamboo floor. But this is the best the family can afford to build.

The ration stock in the small granary has run out a long time back and remains empty. There is not a single grain to fill their stomachs. It is the toughest time for the mother as all she can do is to stare at the empty pots and with her children begging her for food. The father is out to borrow a few kilograms of grains from the neighbors, not sure if he can convince them to lend him some.

The fields remain barren. The soil is infertile that no matter how much they toil in the fields, very little can be reaped. What little they can grow is constantly ravaged by wild animals. Their home is located on the lap of a towering mountain with thick forest in the fringes of their field, providing a perfect hideout for the wild animals. The animals attack the field every now and then, and by harvest time, there is only a little to yield.

They spent the entire farming season in sleepless nights, guarding the fields from wild animals taking away their only sustenance. The little of the year’s harvest lasts for only a few months and they are drowned into poverty again.

This is the plight of a family in a remote village in Mongar, a part of the country that is so far flung that no development has taken place. The family has not seen a surplus of harvest or the abundance of food in their whole lives. The world to them is that which lies within the four mountains that surround them.

The figures are comforting when it states that the poverty rate has been halved from 23% to 12% in last the few years. For the educated lot, this is a big achievement. They can relate the numbers. But for the family in the remote village in Mongar, they know nothing about the figures for their immediate need is how to eat their next meal.


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