By Moonyeen King
President of the Board for Tepehua
The difference between want and need is not very vast but it is clear...to need is life sustaining whereas to want are those extra things in life to sweeten our pot. It has been a long time since most of us reading the Ojo only had what we need. Incredibly all over the world there are more people who need than want. The World Bank states that 3.4 billion people still struggle to make ends meet for only their needs, and according to W.H.O the numbers have been growing since 2015. Poverty is getting worse on our planet instead of better.
Life is not fair. The cards dealt are out of our control...but as the man says ‘it is how you play the game’. Stick with the cards dealt or change them.
We at the Tepehua Center believe that you can change the hand dealt if you work together. We have changed many things for the Barrio, except a very private space for man’s very basic need, elimination of our waste. Countless people in poverty still have to use the primitive method of open defecation, pollution of the nest and our planet, pollution of our surface waters and wells, our streams, the very essence of our lives. Our water. This must change.
In the part of our world that is perfect, when we plan our home, an automatic part of the design is a bathroom around which all our needs are secondary, and we add the wants as we go along. In the imperfect world of poverty, we build the needs first...the roof above our head, protection from the elements, the walls for security from the darker elements of human nature and a door to secure us inside. That is the primary need. Slowly the other needs are added - beds, pots and pans, blankets, perhaps a stove later as a want and the last want, which is a luxury item due to the cost, is a bathroom. No plumbing is installed. Just the toilet itself is a month’s wage, and to attach to a sewer changes the want into a dream. This is the face of poverty and we have done nothing to change it since the first toilets were invented by the Greeks 6,000 years ago.
Tepehua Community Center will change the face of poverty just a little more each year. This year is dedicated to bringing the luxury of the latrine to Tepehua. Ironically nearly every shack has a TV, a luxury item easily attainable on the second hand market, dumping grounds are full of them along with old computers, and if anything is fixable, people of the barrios will fix them. All these luxury items you see in the incongruous setting of a shack come from the throw-away upper class who are forever changing out their wants for newer models. It is not the poor spending their very hard-earned money on luxuries first. Their treasures are your trash.
Every day, in spite of looking into the face of poverty in others, it shouldn’t stop one from enjoying the wants you have attained through life, and appreciate the hand you were dealt, this author does. But it really sweetens your own pot when you know you have contributed something for the basic needs of others. If it can be done in one of the biggest barrios Lake Side like Tepehua with over 7,000 people, it can be done anywhere.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com