Our Readers' Opinions
October 16, 2012
How rich are the rural poor?

Tue, Oct 16, 2012

Editor: I will never forget my primary school days: walking home from school at lunch time to be greeted at home with a bowl of fresh corn meal porridge, a bowl of callaloo soup or steamed breadfruit and banana, along with other freshly dug ground provisions.{{more}}

The morning before school, it was “bush tea” and bakes or bread and in the afternoon when school was over, a group of us were sure to find a fruit tree or several fruit trees to get that well-needed afternoon snack.

Looking back on those days, I have to smile. Though it was all that we had, we were very content, even though there were those among us who always had money for break time or lunch time to buy the “bread and fried chicken”, the “chicken and chips”, roti and other similar meals that were viewed as “high” or better than what we had to settle for – which were the fruits and the home style food.

The pharmacy was very important to us, but when we fell ill with the common cold or other ailments and our parents did not have the money to go to the pharmacy, it was the bush that came to our rescue. We had the “part ah man life”, the “joint bush” and the “baby bush” as well as the “gathering cough”, the “grave-yard”, the trumpet bush or the ball head which caused the common cold to disappear in no time.

When we consider Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer, can we say that the rural people are poor?

Reminiscent of my own personal life, from the way it seems now, we, as rural children, were actually being preserved. Based on our diet, we thought we were down and out and were sometimes willing to sacrifice our diet for what was widely regarded as a better diet – but that was so wrong. All around us were the goodies that nature itself provided. We had seasons of fruits filled with anti-oxidants to choose from. We had the natural ground provisions with the right nutrients needed to sustain us, as opposed to the junk diet that many poor people are aspiring towards nowadays.

Ironically, when persons who are not financially well off are refusing the very fruits and vegetables around them, and oftentimes resort to trade them in exchange for money, to over consume junk food from those who are better off, just take a look in the refrigerators of those who are better off and see what is mostly inside those refrigerators.

For those economically disadvantaged youths in rural areas, you are wealthier than you know. Do not aspire towards a fancier and often high calorie diet. Instead, for your own health and wellness – use what nature itself has made available to you. You are indeed very blessed. For this independence and beyond, let us aspire towards being a healthier generation by eating and living healthier – thankfully, that task is not beyond us as we have all that we need right here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Demion “Black Star” Mc Tair