Thanks for the ‘Heads Up’ about the following article from Carol Scott (Ethiopia 1966-68)
Third World and ashamed of it
Published in the New Orleans Advocate
December 27, 2016
As a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador, I lived and worked with people who had very little.
There were children selling Chiclets on the square, women cooking tortillas on makeshift grills on sidewalks, young men singing on buses and trains, prostitutes advertising themselves in alleys, and elderly shaking tin cans on street corners. Poverty was a way of life for many.
I came to define “Third World” by the number of people eking out an existence on the street, and by the way in which the government supported them (or didn’t). In reality, the definition is far more complicated, and the term itself is misleading and controversial.
By my definition, though, Ecuador was certainly “Third World.” The other day I was walking down Canal Street in downtown New Orleans. Over a stretch of about eight blocks, I was approached by five different people begging for money and food. I also saw two people sleeping on cardboard mats beneath storefront awnings. At almost every major intersection in the city, there is a homeless person soliciting for handouts; and, beneath an overpass, there is a veritable city of tents. It reminds me of Ecuador. Years ago, there was a popular bumper sticker that read: “Louisiana, Third World and Proud of It!” Back then I thought it was funny. Today, it makes me feel ashamed.
Folwell Dunbar (Ecuador 1989-92)
Folwell Dunbar is an educator, artist and survivor of many quagmires of despair. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org