Poverty is a relative issue

I have been taking so long to start with my post because when I think of my experience back in PEI I get a mix of emotions and thoughts that I can’t put together to make a sentence, so this is my first attempt and I hope it goes well and you like it.

I arrived to Canada on January this year, I am from Mexico, a developing country that doesn’t look like Canada at all. My first thoughts about Canada were about the weather (I know it sounds like a cliché). I never felt so cold in my life like the first 3 weeks I spent here. Next, I realized that everyone was prepared and Winter is just the time of the year when people enjoy Winter sports, shopping indoors and building their summer bodies in the gym! I liked that attitude! For me it was a challenge to feel comfortable and happy in the street with such weather, but I decided I was going to make the most out of this experience and take any opportunity that meant discovery and growth…

During my second week of classes I attended a talk about the GCELE programs. I applied a few days after and got selected a month later. I was so happy to know that soon I would be traveling somewhere within Canada and I would get to see the real culture and I would see what poverty was like in Canada.

At first I was a little exceptic to be honest, the poverty I had seen was raw, poor people in Mexico live under 6 dollars a day, they don’t always go to school because they can’t afford school supplies and tuition, and their diet is restricted to the basic foods. It was impossible that they had that here. I was just about to break some of my paradigms.

Poverty as I know now, is a relative issue worldwide. Every country fights its own battles, but poverty is not a lifestyle, it’s a concept. Poverty doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere. Poverty means not to have access to what the majority of the population does in each country, it could be education or healthcare, it could be a new car every year, it could be more than 50 dls a day or just new clothes every season. Every country has a standard of poverty, but within their duties, governments and citizens fight it every day with hard work, and I know this now because I also realized that our work as volunteers is just a piece of a big puzzle. Our labor as global citizens is just as meaningful as what governments, organizations and corporations do. We empower our community and therefore society when we decide to act and be part of the solution to a wordlwide issue. I am proud to be part of this and I encourage you to see beyond your daily landscape and see how our little actions make big changes.

Being part of a GCELE is a door to a life-changing experience.

Karla Cabrera

PEI June 21-28 / 2015

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