One Brick at a Time
Welcome to the latest report from our infrastructure project in Bergnek, Limpopo, South Africa! We are grateful for those of you supporting the projects under the One Brick at a Time initiative and welcome our newest donors to the projects.
Having patience is a lot easier said than done
What is always so inspiring to me, and what drives me to go faster, further for our communities is their ability to be patient in the face of scarcity and when their needs are so severe and dire. The scarcity the community faces is that of the resources to be able to provide basic needs like water, food more than once a day, and sanitation.
I’ve been reading a new book by Hans Rosling that was recently recommended by Bill Gates, called ‘Factfulness’. It describes why it is so important to walk away from the term ‘Developing World’ and creates a context for how we should perhaps see our world by breaking the world down into global income levels instead. After reading what I have so far, I have to admit I can truly relate to this method of looking at the world, simply because some of the solutions to really big problems have come to me, not from those of that have but from those that don’t because they have such a unique outlook as a result of the circumstances they find themselves in and have been born into. These solutions and ideas have been nothing but genius, in my opinion, and underscore why it so important to provide help and support within the right context or at least a better context than we have been using to date. I’ve included an excerpt below for you to consider.
Here's how the four global income levels break down:
Level 1: People live on less than $2 a day. Rosling estimates that one billion people are living at or below this threshold. They get around on their own two barefoot feet, cook over an open flame like a cookfire, fetch water in a bucket, and sleep on the ground.
Some people living in countries like Nepal, Madagascar, and Lesotho all fall into this income category.
Lesotho, Rosling says, has the lowest life expectancy of any country in the world.
Level 2: This is the income group where the majority of the world's people live. They get by on between $2 and $8 a day and might have some possessions like a bicycle, a mattress, or a gas canister for cooking at home.
Countries like Bangladesh, China, Zambia and Nigeria all have people living in this income level, but of course many Chinese and Nigerian people have much higher incomes, especially if they live in big cities.
That's one of the reasons that Rosling argues it's silly to lump entire countries and sections of the world into broad categories like "developing" versus "developed." It's meaningless.
Level 3: This is the second most populous category on Rosling's list, after level 2. People in level 3 live on anywhere from $8 a day to $32. They have running water, might own a motorbike or car, and their meals are a rich and colorful mix of foods from day to day. They also probably have electricity and a fridge, which makes things like studying and eating enough varied nutrients easier.
Egypt, Palestine, the Philippines and Rwanda all have citizens living on this level.
They might have enough money to take small vacations, and their children are generally free to finish high school, because they don't have to drop out early to make money for their family.
Level 4: Like level 1, roughly one billion of the world's people live on this level. They make $32 a day or more and have things like running water (both hot and cold) at home, a vehicle in the driveway, and plenty of nutrients on their plate. They've also likely had the chance to finish twelve years of school, or more.
Just about anyone living in the US, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden or South Korea is going to fall into this income category.
It includes essentially all of what people think of as the "developed" world, but accounts for roughly one-seventh of the global population.
Be cautious about assuming that your level is the best, or most "normal'" level, Rosling says.
"Be cautious about generalizing from Level 4 experiences to the rest of the world," Rosling writes. "Especially if it leads you to the conclusion that other people are idiots."
In light of the information I’ve shared above help us do more, go further, this May in the GlobalGiving Mother’s Day Campaign, because believe me, when I tell you, it IS the mothers, in the rural communities we serve in, that are leading the way, striving to focus every available resource on the betterment of their families and community
Share your Excitement
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We are grateful for your ongoing support and for all you, as a donor, have already done to create positive change in the Bergnek community, and are always grateful for you our supporters, and especially for those of you who give to the One Brick at a Time project every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with the wonderful people of Bergnek. We appreciate you and the people of Bergnek most certainly do too.
We won't give up on the communities we serve, and we know you won't either!