Imagine you lived on $1.50/day and had twins…

Day 8

  • 5.5km walk to pick up bike, 36km ride to Coquitlam east of Vancouver in cold wet windy conditions and to a lovely warm shower at the end point!
  • Breakfast: steal cut oats, bit of bran, a few flax seeds, orange peel and boiling water
  • Lunch: 2 minute noodles to warm me up after my ride
  • Dinner: pasta spirals with bok-choi and a roasted ½ sweet potato in onion broth

I was so cold on the bike ride as being hungry the cold really gets in your bones and it is amazing how much food warms me up very soon after eating.

It’s very interesting to be looking at the developed world through Live Below the Line eyes. Yesterday I got back on the bike for a short trip of 36km out to eastern Vancouver to stay with my ex-girlfriend, her husband and beautiful 10 month old twin girls.

Alicia & Lexi

I had a lovely evening hanging out with the twins Lexi and Alycia and hearing about life when you have two bundles of joy craving your attention and responsibility. What has struck me in hindsight is the big contrast to the way we care for our children and in particular infants in comparison to those in developing countries. I’m sure this will sound slanted to the poor but I mean for it to sound as though there is no right or wrong just different.

Shannon has had a tough 10 months in raising two babies at the same time. It would be hard enough if you had to just raise your first born but then double it with twins. It sounds like has had some good support around the place from institutions, grandparents, friends and of course her husband but she said the greatest and most valued support came from Facebook where she was able to connect to a network of mothers with twins. Here she could have her questions answered and feel ‘normal’ as she was only experiencing what anyone else in her position would be.

Having been fortunate to live in developing countries and in particular my year in Ethiopia where I lived in a teachers compound with many young children, I got to see how children are raised when you don’t have all the technology and infrastructure. Things like baby carriers, toys, disposable nappies, etc. What I saw was that it is a village that raises a child. All the mothers live close together in small housing making space an issue but also a blessing. While one single roomed house is being cleaned the child goes to the neighbours house and then vice-versa. All cooking duties are shared. Play time is with other children of similar age and very independent.

Shared childcare Ethiopian style, kind of like community school
In western culture we tend to shut ourselves off from the world when we have children to look after them. For me it seems it is harder on the guardians and maybe less enriching for the children as they have their own set of everything and have to fight parenting battles on their own and in a less shared and supported way except for when someone visits or we have to go outside for support.
It is all an interesting concept but for me this is where I have the upmost amount of respect for the way of life in developing countries as it seems more humanistic, shared, community orientated and pure than an artificially sculpted concept of what we think it should be like when we have greater access to income and wealth. I idolise this more simple and shared way of life knowing that I have health care, education, clean water, food security and employment as I need which of course those in developing countries don’t always have.

I’m trying really hard to not make value judgments in this particular blog today, just to offer a display in the contrast to how it is done by those who Live Below the Line. I am not a parent, have no idea how tough it must be and am not anti-western culture. I have just been lucky, I feel, to have experienced a very different way of life that is at the front of my mind as I recreate that existence eating on less than $1.50 a day.

Parenting is tough no matter where you are and there is no right way so the biggest respect to all parents anywhere in the world – especially those with twins!

Pretty cute eh!

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