Friday, May 2, 2014

'Have nots' vs 'Have Yachts'

Just to be clear I did not come up with that title myself.  That wee phrase was coined by living-on-a-budget guru Sophie Gray of 'Destitute Gourmet' fame.  I like that term, I really do.  For me it describes that ever widening gap between poor and rich in our society, not just in our country but our world as well.  It makes me sad, it makes me feel helpless, it frustrates me, it maddens me and it makes me want to yell at people.  (Don't worry I haven't done that yet).

I am fortunate.  I have experienced both.  I am truly blessed for that.  I grew up comfortable not rich but not poor either.  There were certainly times when things were lean, very lean but we always had good food on the table, a warm house to live in, a good school to go to, clothes to wear, shoes on our feet and a number of holidays scattered through out the years.  After leaving home I could basically choose more or less where I wanted to go and what I wanted to study and I knew that I had my parents covering my back and supporting me.  I got married had a good job for a while, saved some money, spent some money and when we started having children I had the option of being able to stay home full time with our children.  Jamie worked, I looked after the kids. A good arrangement, dare I say a privileged arrangement.  The years went by and Jamie continued to work more or less in the same job and over the years he was awarded pay rise after pay rise.  The kids started a semi-private Christian school and I was still at home raising my babies.  We were blessed.  But the sad thing was, we didn't know it.  Well I think we kind of knew it but we didn't KNOW it, we didn't feel it and we certainly at times felt like we were still hard done by.  That embarrasses me now.  We really had no idea how blessed we were.  We had money in the bank for the following Christmas AND the following summer holiday in January, we could pay all our bills and we had no debt, yet at time we still found ourselves wanting more. Still worrying about money. On reflection of how we use to be I can say we could of done so much more in the world with what God had blessed us with. Oh hindsight is such a good thing isn't is.

Now that we are having a turn at living on the other side of the coin, the 'have nots' (not that we ever had a yacht but you catch my drift) and living on the brink of financial ruin on a weekly basis. I have gained insight that I never have had before. And while its not the ideal place to be, I am trusting that God is at work here and will bring us out the other side having gained a new found appreciation, a new found outlook and a new found faith.  How cool is that?!

Currently in our supermarkets.....

                                                                                                                    Credit Darryn Onekawa Ifbb Pro

I can't think of any other place to see the gap between rich and poor than the supermarket.  It is a well known fact that 1 in 4 New Zealanders are over weight and 1 in 6 are obese.  I think that is pretty appalling but whose fault is it.   I am just saying that it isn't the 'have nots' that are putting quinoa or paninis in their trolleys, nor are they putting in skinless chicken breasts or fillet steak.  I don't blame them, that food is EXPENSIVE!!  A large percentage of them are putting in fish fingers and savaloys, coke and cheap white bread.  I know because I have been tempted to do the same. The mince, don't get me started on the mince.  You can buy cheap mince for $9.00/kg that looks to be a large percentage of fat or you can get better quality mince for a much greater price. I can not bring myself to buy crappy fatty mince, I would rather go without.  It really is a awful helpless feeling, not having the choice or a lot of choice as to what you buy.  Pretty dismal really.   I am very very fortunate to have, in my opinion a moderate set of skills that enables me to make and prepare reasonably healthy food out of not much.  We are fortunate that Jamie is a hunter and more or less a successful one at that. We are fortunate enough to have the space, time and know how to have a vege garden (although it definitely could be better).  And most importantly we are very blessed to have a God that has our back and uses people to bless us from time to time.

Most people in the 'have not' department do not posses those skills etc, making the fact that they have a very limited income harder. They were not passed on the skills to bake and make good meals out of scratch, to garden or to hunt or even the ability to seek out information that will set them up with those said skills.  I am not sure why this is. Perhaps its because they are a generation that was brought up with an "out-of-the-home" working mother.  I have nothing against working Mothers at all, my own Mother was a working Mother and had to work but she was still able to pass on the skills she knew to my sisters and I. Thanks Mum. Perhaps it is the fact that we don't NEED to do those things anymore, cheap food is readily available more or less 24/7 and the choice is phenomenal. Who would of thought that you could have a whole aisle full of different breakfast cereals?!  Perhaps it is the fact that people are just too busy!!  A modern day epidemic.  I thought these skills were taught in school, I know they certainly were when I went through school.  How effective are they? Teaching kids how to cook a gourmet meal using breast of chicken is pointless if  all they are going to afford is a packet of mince.  So if people aren't being taught these skills at home or any decent skills at school then where are they suppose to learn? Hippocrates said "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food", something I whole-heartedly agree with.  So if this is the case then what is in the trolley of the 'have nots' isn't helping our nations health or their waist lines at all. I can't see how a packet of savaloys is going to be curing anything anytime soon.

In the past few years there has been a surge of magazines, TV shows and recipe books of the "getting back to basics" genre. And yes the interest sparked by wanna-be hottest home bakers and hidden domestic goddesses has been great.  What I find though is that the recipes or the dishes or new way of eating are trendy and expensive and are they doable for the 'Joe-average' person. I don't think so.  When a recipe calls for lemon grass and Bulgar wheat or coconut oil and cacao powder  it immediately becomes out of reach for many people, especially when they have a power bill that's due in two days time with no way or paying it.  I can see the thinking behind when they are buying fish and chips at the local takeaway or a packet of cheap choc biscuits.

I don't know what the answer is. I have plenty of ideas but whether or not they are feasible is another story.  I know that the 'have nots' can have a whole passel of issues that go side by side with not eating healthy or being overweight. I recognize that. From family dynamics, health problems, housing problems, unemployment, to mental health illnesses and problems with drugs and alcohol.  That is why the solution isn't a simple one nor will it ever be a quickly fixed one.  But one thing that I do know, is that people need people, people need people that care enough to help them, to teach them, to walk along side them and their journey.  We are a far too "independent-from-each-other" society of people though.

What are your thoughts??

Disclaimer: The above is entirely my own thoughts and opinions and observations from my own everyday living, by talking to people and my own experiences.  They are not based on statistics or any specific scientific data. I take no responsibility for any actions of the reader.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant article. Right now is the hardest bit S. I remember it well. No the answers aren't simple but they are there.


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