By Catherine Wanjiku.N (Kenya)
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“But which rich man from which continent started to think about financial planning and investing at old age? Doesn’t the old man look behind to see the fruits of his hands and loins? Doesn’t he also fear the future because it is synonymous to death?” Anonymous
“Being young and without experience I did not know that he who spends more than he earns is sowing the winds of needless self-indulgence from which he is sure to reap the whirlwinds of trouble and humiliation.” George Clason, Author of The richest man in Babylon.
Inside, the cave was dark and now the sun burns my skin, I try to protect myself from the scorching sun with my miniscule palms and they defy my order. I fear my skin will pill from the hot sun. And the Money Maker I have planted has shed leaves like the baobab tree in summer. I know poverty has fallen on me like rain.
The Author is inspired by different writers, businessmen, positive thinkers and those who love to be wealthy. Among them include: Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, Christopher Hart, Daily Nation columnist, Oprah's show, Mohamed Yunus of Bangladesh, James Mwangi of Equity Kenya, Alfred Mutua, Kenya, George Clason; author of the richest man in Babylon, classical economists among others. These characters’ choices of words have positively inspired my life.
This book draws an analogy of the Money Maker Plant, a flower commonly grown inside the house. It is said to flourish when there is money in the house and sign of dry leaves prophesy poverty! It is normally put in a corner and grows upwards to surround the whole house, by help of a thin sisal string. Despite being watered in a poor house, it still dries up. Is this true? The writer takes a flash back of her own history with money, finance and how it is viewed in a mirror in this piece of fiction. Can this plant flourish in a house smelling poverty? This book intends to enlighten minds to see financial challenges from a different perspective. For no one is born rich or poor, we all have the power to command our destiny.
The Money Maker has a unique light to poverty in the minds of the poor and the rich. It’s all in the mind!
The Money Maker
“Sometimes, if you read a text in a straight line it means nothing, but if you read it backwards it makes sense” (The Philosophers Stone, Peter Marshall)
“Be scared of poverty, be very scared, what if the poor were being hospitalized?” Grandpa asks his son, Eury. “Son, listen to my words of advice to you during your time under the sun. For soon I will not be with you.
“Poverty is a lethal weapon more dangerous than the cobra’s venom, it is a killer instinct. Probably worse than the feared AIDS, if you fear AIDS, how come you hug poverty with passion, or are we under the power of the feared black magic, we need ARV’s for the poor too!” poverty has undressed in public and people see it as a norm. Is it better to die of AIDS or to die of poverty? Choose how you want to die.
“Listen my son,”
“Poverty has beautified itself like three gem stones, the glitter lies below the skin. Poverty is good. I know your heart pace has increased. By the time I finish narrating this, you will have known why. It will take cultural, financial, political and religious teaching to alleviate poverty from the minds of people. My dear son, it is the most difficult lesson to teach. The poor resist riches. They want to create attention. This is why when other countries look at us they adore our riches, but when we look at ourselves we want to commit suicide due to lack of money. But isn’t committing suicide a sign of bowing to defeat and failure?”
“Tell them the truth about their wealth and you will become lifetime enemies. Last week I visited the slums with some alms; to my surprise even people in the slums who can afford still want it for free. It became difficult to cut the line between who is poor and who is not. You will need to use your sixth sense and exercise your observation skills well.”
“This statement may be trite but a closer look will be vital to anyone who questions it. There exists a valley between the rich and the poor. The gem sliced in two has different shades, which you cannot differentiate easily now; the question here is: how can Africa fight poverty when we are hugging it with passion? If we get rich shall we get help from elsewhere in the globe?”
“We are all scared of criminals. We lynch them, we shoot them, we condemn them to life sentence but poverty has been here as old as humanity. Since the discovery of AIDS scientists have been spending sleepless nights looking for a cure. Mentioning the word AIDS is forbidden, worse still even test without consent is illegal yet people die every day of other atrocities and ailments. If we feared poverty the way we fear insecurity and AIDS there could be no poverty anywhere in this world.”
“Grandpa, this is not easy to comprehend, how can we have a world free of poverty?”
“My son, financial advice is crucial to our society not only among the poor but even the rich and the middle class. I find it extremely necessary for people to adopt a culture of saving money in the various existing channels, and it’s not carrying a donkey. Unless we make it compulsory to save, we might just never alleviate poverty. We must differentiate between loans and savings. Nobody will ask you for your savings you will use it with all freedom and peace of mind. But again we are not disciplined in using what is ours, we therefore see loan as a quick solution for money. And immediately we receive the loans we forget they are liabilities.”
“My son life is like a plane in the air. If the 4 forces are not right, it cannot fly! A flight in air bows to 4 forces: Weight, Thrust, Lift and Drag. Weight acts down wards. I equate this with life problems, which pull one down, may be financial, social or psychological. Thrust of the plane’s engine pushes it forwards, this I equate it to will of riches, the resolute determination to attain. Lift created by its wings acts upwards; this I equate to life booster such as education; career building that pushes one up in order to reach the intended goal. The Drag tries to slow it down. I could equate this drag to daily needs and wants that constantly call for our attention. Thrust must overcome drag, and lift must overcome weight, if a plane has to fly. If these 4 forces are well balanced then your life is balanced! There exists an invisible hand that seems to pull people down financially, that is why we work day and night and we can’t see what we are doing. We must learn how to strike a balance in life.”
Eury takes a deep breath with a suspiration, listening keenly not to miss a letter.
“Poverty is multifarious,” Grand pa continues eyes fixed on his son, Eury. “Some people may look at a Maasai in Kenya with 1000 herds of cattle as poor probably because the Maasai wears a leso and another with hundreds of bags of maize as poor because he looks dirty from the farm. From the African perspective with so many people lying below the poverty line then we cannot measure poverty with income, as long as one can feed, cloth, educate and shelter then that is wealth.”
“Poverty and AIDS are close allies, it has torn and destroyed many yet it is not equally feared, Son people don’t fear poverty, they fear wealth. There is no much stigma associated with poverty; the poor do not hate poverty. On the other hand poverty acts as a call for sympathy to the victims, and once people are fed they will always tend to stay at the center expecting some gain. When we are looking at poverty as a threat to humanity remember each coin has 2 faces. If there was no poverty some rich people would lose, thus enlarging the poverty bracket. If we look at poverty as a call for sympathy, we shall cling there for a little longer, hoping for a miracle. If we stigmatize poverty then we would all work hard to make sure we can afford basic needs, but when we all accept there is poverty we shall live with it confidently, forgetting it will spread to the next generation. We must cultivate a culture to admire wealth.”
“It is the poor who give out money easily by cheap tricks, worsening the situation. Today we are enjoying but tomorrow we shall be crying. Poverty has built strong pillars in Africa and uprooting it needs a lot of deep study and not just improving the economy. The reason being that even when the economy is very good, that beggar who is used to getting money from the streets will still be there tomorrow, in hope of raising more money and feigning the economy is even worse for him.
“My son, take a cup of Italian brewed coffee, and keep yourself warm, as the night is getting chilly.” You must have seen men and women toiling in their farms at the wee hours of morning up to sunset. Agriculture is the food basket here in Africa; the cooperatives assist farmers with farming machineries, finances, and marketing the produce. These cooperatives also help farmers to accumulate savings, thus improving living standards of the members.
“Eury, do you know Mohammed? Mohammed Yunus woke up one misty, foggy morning and thought of a solution to alleviate poverty; he came up with the Grameen model, all in the effort of helping the most poor.” This move sounded pretty good to my ears that after all the poorest of the poor can be the richest of the rich. I thought of my native home, would all these slums be past tense? Kibera is the largest slum in East Africa with families living with less than 1USD a day, it has extremely poor sanitation, Mathare alias Kosovo is not an exception, life is defeating. Seeing the sunrise the next day is good luck enough to sacrifice to the god of peace. For they know no peace. Their world is covered by overnight deaths, hunger and great inhumanity. Just waking up one morning and your close neighbor is no more, this evening anywhere to borrow the two spoons of sugar or salt. Poverty is injustice for sure. Yet living in abject poverty is inevitable here. The god-forsaken valleys of Kibera, are they children of a lesser god? Flying toilets are normal here, just take a “News paper” tear and spread it down, finish your business, pick it and throw it in any direction you like as long as it is not near your door. Now that the plastic paper bags that are used here are being banned due to environmental degradation, the residents don’t know what they will be using. Whether the sheet will end up on another humans head is a tale we shall wait to hear the ending. But it’s a fact that poverty has undressed in public and we are watching its nudity as if it’s a norm.
“I can see Grameen model shedding light from a far distance to these deprived souls of Allah.” ‘Will I benefit from taking a loan?’ They ask themselves. ‘Or are the rich coming for what they left? Are these institutions just milking profit from the poor? Look here who owns the house you live? Where do you buy your daily foods? Isn’t giving loans to the poorest of the poor risking institution's money. Only the middle class can qualify for loans. Risk in the poor is very high, which institutions wants to increase default?’ We are all fretted by auction.
“Can a child wean itself with all the necessary foods in the house?” Africa has played this role for a while now. The west must be doing something right and we must be doing something wrong, we need to stop and gather our minds together to know what the rich countries are doing differently from us socially, politically, economically, so that we can emulate.
“Fighting illiteracy is key to alleviating poverty. We need another crucial financial class for Kenyans, only a few know how to handle money; there is much faith in let us eat today for tomorrow we die” slogan than meets the eye. That the light shown by our brothers Mohammed Yunus of Bangladesh and James Mwangi of Equity Kenya can actually fight poverty out of Africa, and should be emulated by other organs. The effort being expressed here is commendable; a passion to fight poverty.
When your grandmother was here she contributed to reducing the dehumanizing poverty in Africa. We give this people loans but their lives never improve. Have they taken a vow of poverty? “I will be poor until death do us part.” Even worse some people become even poorer because it’s the poor who have very high debts in almost every small shop in the neighborhood and from friends. Nobody is a natural we all work hard to get good and work harder to get better. She always told me of Women Self Help Group (SHG) but I never told him of Men Self Help Groups which are either very few or do not exist. In fact many men join Women groups for loans. Even worse, Youth SHG are also rare or are not known to many youths. Only women are greatly involved in SHG. This clearly shows societal thinking imbalance. Being involved in such activities will enable organizations and government bodies to also think about them thus boosting the economy.
“What is the solution to poverty?” Let me tell you a short story about myself, when I was your age I saved 200ksh per week to accumulate 70,000ksh how long would it take? It would take 350 weeks, which translates to 88 months, which is equivalent to 7 years. Yet I was not demoralized I had a goal, a dream to be rich. It is evident that the efforts the micro finance institutions are putting in poverty alleviation are bearing good fruits. The very poor are able to come together and put up business. When money is availed to the poor they become unexceptionally active. They like making money. The effort put by these people to remain in business is commendable. That despite their state of poverty they are working towards making their lives better; a little help from the government will definitely be a great thing to them. No one likes to be poor. We all want our Money Maker Plant to flourish!
“We have no choice but to fight poverty probably more harshly than we fight the devil in our secluded and diverse religions.” If only you and I see poverty as an enemy then we shall move on. Poverty is injustice and injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, lets fight poverty, and it could end in a year.
“Son, I will not give you fish, instead I will show you how to fish.” This goes to our lovely brothers the politicians who years come and pass without fulfilling their promises. They give voters fish, which clear in a short time, and their mouths just gape waiting. If these elected members of Parliament can develop the rural areas or their constituencies by constructing companies and factories all over the country then it’s obvious that we shall have people spread to their rural homes. No one wants to live in slums; no one wants to enrich landlords we do so because we do not have a choice, we must be in urban areas to earn a living. And that’s what has been availed by our leaders.
“The reason I live in Slums is because I worked here. I came, worked and after staying here for sometime it became a home. This slum has been visited by almost every public figure from around the world; everyone wants to know what Kibera is made of. Each time I wake up in the morning I think of these poor vagaries that even waking up is a big challenge because there is no breakfast to look forward to. Why has it remained in this situation despite the many efforts and promises by the politicians and many visits by prominent people? How can slums become decent homes? We in Kenya work damn hard. You will find people with handcarts at dawn, Hundreds of people going to industrial area for casual work. They never tire; they wake up very early than most of us. They toil for their money yet they remain poor. What are the challenges, why does someone remain extremely poor while another works day and night yet has no enough food for her children? We need a mind that is committed and totally devoted to a country’s development. I believe Kenya can be a slum free country, we only need a willing heart.”
Life is a risk; if you don’t risk it you are a fool. Unless you risk losing you can never win a lottery. My son I am old and disfigured. I long for a day I will walk along Kibera slums or Mathare and say “Some year’s back this was filthy slum” how I long for this day. Even though I may be long dead and buried my spirits will celebrate. The hearts of the poor people are willing to end poverty. Charity organizations, government, and religious institutions no one feels proud to come from a country with the biggest slum, no one.
“If poverty could make one hospitalized, all hospitals in Africa could be full” We are tired of being poor. It aches me like unattended open wound to see our brothers and sisters living in the slums yet skyscrapers in the up market areas are coming up every day. While the poor men pray hard that the rain does not come because their roofs are holey. I take it upon my shoulders that Kenya before I kiss the earth it will be a country free of slums. Who shall rise from the dead or fall like rain to rescue the man in the black continent, none but the black man himself. “All our dreams can come true-if we have the courage to pursue them” Walt Disney. Poverty in Africa is with no doubt exacerbating with disease search as AIDS and Malaria still claiming many lives. Many children still sleep hungry every day with no hope for tomorrow.
Son, don’t sleep until am done for my days here are numbered and probably I have only a few more hours to breathe this air.
Son, when I slept hungry I could not go to school the following day. Indeed any country with food security will always be ahead of others for without energy the mind is exhausted. We should be focused on more and better things in our lives rather than just looking for food. If the only thing we are doing is looking for food then we can never develop. If am looking for food, I cannot graze or school due to hunger. Despite the poverty that is hovering all around Africa the populations are building up every minute. Is it not birth control that is key to fighting poverty in Africa? Did children become assets when I was asleep? Grandma is in dire need of being educated on births. The current move by the Kenyan government of free education and free delivery services in hospitals is definitely a good move, but we have to be very keen because we might just be about to experience a baby boom that will negatively affect the country’s economy.
Business has always been an easy way out of poverty. Entrepreneurship is indeed the backbone to alleviate poverty. Encouraging everybody to own a business will be a very first way of getting many people employed. Kenya is suffering a high level of unemployment not only to the youth but also to the elder society that have the responsibility of taking their children to high school and colleges. If each district in Kenya citizens start their own businesses at the end of the day a business owners will have employed one or two people; this is development. Business education should be encouraged in tertiary schools. It is sad in Kenya to hear that there is a shortage of teachers’ doctors and a like when millions of graduates in this country have no jobs. Even worse these graduates have been educated by well-wishers scholarships or relatives and not their parents who are indeed poor. While we embrace education too much it is good to note that we should learn to capture talents at early age. I don’t believe there is an age that someone cannot be the best even at three years a parent should be able to know what her baby likes and does not like. Entrepreneurship in the rural areas should be encouraged; more factories should be based in these areas especially manufacturing plants to create employment. This indeed will control the mushrooming of slums in the city of Nairobi. Because people will be encouraged to live in the rural areas. “I mention this with a lot of concern because poverty is a lethal weapon more dangerous than cobra’s venom, it is a killer instinct that should be fought just like the feared AIDS, and if you fear AIDS you should also fear poverty equally. We need ARV’s for the poor too!”
Sickness derails, the moment your grandmother fell sick, truth unveiled and her business went down. Disease kills in every society it comes with mind dysfunction, lack of energy, inability to perform, less output in every company or organization. We should hold hands and fight disease. It pains me to here news surrounding Nairobi, some districts will never be mentioned and only aired when citizens in that area are in critical condition. Fighting disease is key to development anywhere in the globe. Citizens should be sensitized on their own health because they are not only for themselves but also for others. People die and we feel we have lost an important people because of their contribution to our country. True patriots, we should be indeed proud of our country, just like Afred Mutua the government’s spokesman is trying to do“ by using the slogan Najivunia kuwa Mkenya” “Am proud to be a Kenyan” People who are proud of themselves avoid evil things, help their neighbours and are true patriots.
I was going to fetch water and the river had run dry. Preserving natural resources is very important. Look at the number of slums along Nairobi River yet the slum dwellers have to buy water. If Wangare Maathai the environmentalist and peace Nobel Laureate could facilitate the cleaning of this river it could help millions of many poor people. Instead of being misused by the big companies as a waste tunnel. This is a natural resource we are watching go to waste. Kenya is one country that is rich in all natural resources but mismanagement is unbelievable. That we cannot feed our own people while we have rich soils, big multinational companies and efficiency in tax collection. Why can’t we focus on what we have to alleviate poverty? Diagnosing the whites and giving Prescription to Africans; it will never work. Let us get our own traditional doctor to give us the herbal medicine. It’s bitter but it’s worth it.
And most importantly peace, if you are at peace with yourself there will be peace in the World. It is crucial everywhere, nothing should comprise a country’s peace for it was not offered in a platter. We must each in our respective small institutions promote peace in the world. Conflict areas like Rwanda and Sierra Leone, Congo, are countries we should borrow a leaf from. Not mentioning Somali that is still ailing.
My boy, you must be educated not to get a good job but because mind is a Tabula rasa. It needs to be fed. The gospel of working hard in school is slowly diminishing and loosing the essence after very poor school performers come out as powerful men in the society. While it’s good to preach the gospel to your children that they should be number one in school. Don’t forget to guard them on how to make money while still in school. Possibilities are that just like what is happening now, these children will stay without a job for a while. The parents will retire and start depending on them yet themselves they will not be having the means. So who pays house rent, who buys food, who provides health care? By the time these child is securing a job she cannot develop herself she has to go and provide for her parent. This will disadvantage her own family and thus not providing some needs.
Starting a shop or any business anywhere possibilities are that someone will buy your goods or services. But where does a poor youth get capital? How will I buy 2 Kgs of sugar and sell for profit? Living from hand to mouth is a major killer to prospective entrepreneurs, they buy to sell tomorrow but realize they have nothing for supper so they give out and prepare a coffin for their business.
Son, every person needs to develop him or herself individually unless we take personal responsibility there will be no change in the world we must be Moneymakers. The elder members of the society should encourage this and act as instruments of development to their younger generation. But how can you offer guidance that you also lack? Business is sometimes made up of only simple rules. When you cannot sell get someone to do it for you, and then you become an employer immediately! It is a must that we learn to save money, have a condensed family, avoid middlemen, and avoid Impulse buying. It is important to note that little things are the most important in business: Keep time. Listen to your customer. Provide the best services or goods available. Have your documents ready; you never know when the craving will strike!
It is my nature to scan through books, magazines and papers, yesterday morning, I read Secrets of Success according to Christopher Hart on Daily Nation Column on Sunday, September 17, 2006. I was very encouraged to know that success is within reach. Success has nothing to do with family background, most successful people are not born wealthy and only half of them complete college. That to succeed in life we need to do something we are passionate about, and then I will work because I love it. Successful people ask, read all the time about business, poetry, politics, relationships, sports, science, religion or art. But most importantly use what you read. Success is about applying the information well. It is also important to look for technology and people’s needs. When something does not work improve next time, don’t worry about making mistakes and don’t waste time complaining, Leave in the present because that is the only thing in life you can control. Successful people look people in the eye, listen hard, and enjoy their food, music, reading the books, or just playing a game. When a new technology appears be the first to respond thoughtfully without overreacting and unnecessary haste. It’s important to assess risk accurately. Success is not magic. Life is full of frustrations and destructions but they do not confuse successful people. Keep reminding yourself how many good days you have had this week. Figure out what made them good and do more of the staff that made them that way. Be self aware, successful people understand themselves and are comfortable with the choices they have made in life, they have regrets like anyone else but they have made peace with their past and are confident about the future. They are mature and have ideals they want to make a difference or follow a dream. They communicate clearly about their age, relationships, and dreams. In success there is no good luck or talent, it is just a few simple habits and a lifetime of hard work. I repeat hard work; Failure is just a few errors committed every day.
Eury, all the traits that distinguish successful people from us can be learned, they are free and no one can stop you from using them. And lastly be determined and get started. Just by these words, I felt myself rejuvenated financially, like Money Maker with healthy green leaves after continuous watering and I thought this is what I have been waiting for, for all this time.
In a country rich in agriculture my gospel on success could be based on two very simple things: Buy and sell or Grow and sell, with this we can fight hunger. Life is such that you cannot sit and wait it is a must you do something to feed first your stomach. If you cannot feed your stomach you should be worried. A Moneymaker plant cannot flourish without being watered.
Our parents have retired; I come from a family of seven siblings only one is employed by the government. We all rely on him for food, school fees, health, I am trying to invest in all kinds of business, and am very positive they will succeed and maybe in the next ten years, I will have killed the family poverty cycle but I have to work very hard, extremely hard. If I am to focus on raising a quarter million at once, I will die a poor woman. I will have to start with another business that requires little capital and then I can make a profit of 200ksh and save. As I studied I had no personal interest on business, I never thought having a degree I could turn to a writer and a businessperson. I liked office work a quiet working environment analyzing economic concepts and advising people on economic development issues.
Son, sell groundnuts on the side roads sell, sell something. Clean people’s houses provide other services. You will never go hungry. Another source of money for business for the youth is getting involved in sports, you play once in a while and get some money for yourself, invest it in business before you know it your business is growing.
Robert Kiyosaki had predicted the times and I could not fail to mention him in this piece. This is the reason I embrace and thank the writer of rich dad poor dad for studying the times we are living. That the reason for wanting to be rich is a combination of deep emotional wants and don’t wants.
Son I dint want to work all my life, but I did, I did not want what my parents aspired for: job security and a house in the suburbs, I did not like being an employee, I hated missing occasions and events because of work, I hated working so hard and the government is siphoning my money, I did not want to retire! But all this I did.
I wanted to be free to travel the world and live the lifestyle I loved, I wanted to be young when I did this, I wanted to simply be free, I wanted control over my life and my time, I wanted money to work for me. But all this never happened. Now it’s your turn, take the mantle with my blessings. That when this becomes your anthem you will work to achieve it. Financially with every dollar we get in our hands we hold the power to choose our future to be rich or poor. Poor people have poor spending habits.
People invent saying of consolation or to justify poverty: am not interested in money, I will never be rich, I don’t have to worry, am still young, when I make some money then I will think about my future. Avoid negative talks. They will only make you poorer.
Son, avoid listening to poor or frightened people; they will always tell you why something won’t work. Bad company ruins good morals an old saying that makes a lot of sense. The key to financial freedom is to convert earned income in to passive or portfolio income. Earned income is money you work for. Passive and portfolio income is money working for you. More often than not the problem is not starting up a business but getting capital. Can a genuine entrepreneur tell us how to acquire seed capital for the youth?
And why are some countries extremely rich and others poor? Do not be disillusioned there are rich and poor families, people and countries. Despite the many resources available. The difference between poor countries and rich countries does not reside in the available natural resources. Japan has a limited territory, 80% mountainous, inadequate for agriculture and cattle raising, but it is the second world economy. The country is like immense floating factory, importing raw materials from the whole world and exporting manufactured products. Switzerland, which does not plant Cocoa, has the best chocolate in the world. In its little territory they raise animals and plant the soil during four months per year. Not enough, they produce dairy products of the best quality. It is a small country that transmits an image of security, order and labor, which made it the world’s strongest safe. There is no intellectual difference between poor and rich countries. That is why I mentioned earlier that minds must be fed. The difference is the attitude of the people framed along the years by education and the culture. Race or the skin color is not important. Immigrants labeled lazy in their countries of origin are the productive power in rich European countries. Ethics, is a basic principle; integrity, responsibility, respect to the laws and rules, respect to the right of other citizens, work loving, strive for saving and investment, will of super action and Punctuality only a few in poor countries follow these basic principles in their daily lives. We are not poor because nature was cruel to us. We are poor because we lack attitude. We lack the will to comply and teach these functional principles to the rich and developed societies.
When a Kenyan is born, he has thumped into his hand very early in life that the most important thing in life is money. He is taught to defy poverty and to live by the creed it is better to be dead than to be poor, Sunday Nation, dec.20, 1998. Son, be encourage start to be rich in your mind. If we love money we will work hard to get it but if we focus on the difficulties and the impossibilities of attaining the lives we want we might just pass by without satisfaction. “Everything you are unable to do money can do it for you” MARX 1974.361
Son, a few years ago, I was listening to Oprah's show and Clinton was invited, listen to what he said, “It is one thing to know about a business, and another to be a business person.” For me it fast hit me when I started one and I got heavy loss that I almost gave up. I realized I had to make decisions I couldn’t know whether they were right or wrong until I saw the consequences. You have to have guts and believe strongly in yourself. You have to go ahead and make mistakes, and then put them behind yourself. And in the end if you make the mistakes in good faith, and you make more good choices than bad ones, it comes out all right. Even on the worst days there is something you can do to make a difference. Note one important thing that you deal with the world as it unfolds, without giving up your vision of where you want to be at the end of every financial year. One measure of success in business is the extent to which you continue to pursue your agenda while dealing with the incoming fire.”
Wealth is material that is why the richest man is not the most educated man. Hart said that most successful people drop out of college. A student who performs extremely well in class is awarded highly, and no one complains about her performance outdoors. A student who is performing extremely well outdoors is awarded but not equally, and when s/he gets to class s/he is seen as a failure in life. The education system emphasize on passing examinations but fails to recognize the importance of those students who even after being in class for 8 years do not know how to write their names and baptizes them stupid. “Nelly,” “I like your commitment to the hockey game you have made us proud, but remember that is not what brought you to this school!”
I watched the life of many rural folks deteriorating as I sat at the top of Mt Kenya. High illiteracy level, poor nutrition, poor health, low farm produce, high population and land shortage among others due to increased cost of living. The poor depend on small farms that can hardly feed their families. Worse even if it fails to rain for one season it is declared a national disaster.
It’s a high time we stop tilling our lands and investing in fertilizers then we start praying for the rain! Millions of people are permanently hungry and ability to live a normal life is highly compromised. The bulk of the rural population consists of subsistence farmers, informal traders, landless workers and other disadvantaged. Poverty has always been with us, and alleviating it is still a great challenge. The groups that are at risk of becoming poor are highly prone to events over which they have no control. Degree of vulnerability varies and depends on socio-economic groups to which they belong to the type of economy in which they live. But remember that as much as you may hear about free will, there is nothing like free will in money, since creative activities are determined by economic structure of the time in which they live, this is the reason why you never get bread when you want.
Although the community has taken part in worsening the situation, the poor economic Performance in any country contributes the highest percentage. The policy makers have not fully succeeded in improving the welfare of rural families, and more often all programmes are urban oriented. My wife in the village still depend on subsistence farming and given the land size, tools, seeds, land fertility and technological know-how explains why rural areas are dragging behind in agriculture production .Use of this type of farming has hindered many people to achieve high living standards.
My son you just came in the world the other day, when I was in school there were two classical economists Adam Smith and David Ricardo. The thoughts of these two gentlemen still influence our rural society to date. The only difference is, many people have now moved to the urban areas in search of green pastures. That is why you and I are here now, in town. Today only majority of children and elderly live in the rural areas. The land is still fixed and children are still being born thus population pressure. This combination has lead to less fertile land and a continual rise in price of food, rents and profits are on the decline. As food and rents become relatively expensive the costs of living of those in low incomes worsen. This situation is seen to exist in this particular area where the population is relatively high and therefore creating land competition, the people cannot afford to live the land even for a season so as to gain fertility because they will not harvest and therefore hunger. The fertility of the land has declined, discouraging the farmers from depending on their farms for food and therefore turning to business. They are forced to depend on buying foods, which are sold at high prices. This situation has declined their living standards. The situation of the election aftermath in Kenya clearly portrayed the vacuum when it comes to land ownership and cultivation. Many farmers may not harvest this season because they planted nothing. They will be hungry and the nation too forcing importation of foodstuff and thus pushing prices up and thus high inflation. The government must provide machineries to make farmers plough their land, give them incentives, by doing these people will stop being dependant and will have to work to get food for themselves and later they will be able to feed their family. Government aside, people should be self driven to feed themselves and their children.
Then another man was introduced in the topic, Malthus, He said,
Malthus argued that while population increases geometrically that is 2, 4, 8, 16 the means of subsistence increases arithmetically 2,4,6,8. My son do you understand this? This highly affects the welfare in rural areas as Malthus says, “The power to produce is obviously limited by the scarcity of land.” As the land gets scarce the population is forced to cultivate the infertile lands, thus diminishing returns. The society is forced to produce below their capacity because the government is no longer helping the farmers with things like inputs or subsidies. What are taxes good for if they are not for improving the lives of the poor in a country? Citizens must be empowered they must be proud of their country, and then they can work hard to make it better because they love it.
When the society cannot get profits from their farms then many things become a problem like food, education, transport and others “The one obvious instrument of measurement available in social life is money, Hence the range of our enquiry becomes restricted to that part of social welfare that can be brought directly or indirectly into relation with the measuring rod of money.” Pigou A.C. If the money becomes a problem then the rural live in poverty. They cannot afford to educate their children they see children as a future investment, probably to satisfy the present.
If I may again mention Malthus who said “Production of children is treated as a means of investment in “capital goods” for the future not as means of spending income on “consumer goods” for the sake of psychic satisfaction in the present” With this in mind the poor give birth to many children so that they can help them in future.
According to classical economists this factors will drag any economy behind unless taken in to consideration. These gentlemen show vividly why the poor might just be poor for a little longer. To many, all is lost and only a miracle can cause an impact. My son this is a lesson, I kept in my mind and recited it like a verse in the holy book.
Eury my son, Sub-Saharan Africa continues to wallow in abject poverty and neglect while flagrant misuse of scarce resources continue unabated. In both private and public sectors, misuse of available resources has remained rampant by few privileged individuals, at the expense of the general population now choking with poverty both at the country side and urban areas. My son all is not lost, we just need to correct a few mistakes and things will be in order. Not only financial but also social and cultural practices in our society. Most parents however poor they may be understand the importance of education to their children, but they lack the means, I visited one parent who asked me,
“If I cannot afford to build myself a good house and to feed my children how can I afford to pay school fees in thousand?” A parent wonders.
A strong culture on working hard is in place but not a saving and investing culture probably because of the immense needs. Go to any corner in Nairobi, Kenya and you will find a seller selling something, whether its bananas, ground nuts, kart along the road, that’s something to applaud. Kenyans are not lazy they are very, very hardworking.
Loan is good but what happens when mismanaged. It becomes an elephant problem that becomes hindrance to ones intended goal. I interviewed two women in a micro finance and this was how they viewed it.
“I took a loan of 70,000 my husband fell sick and needed medicine, I used this money to pay his bills and buy him medicine. I now have difficulties paying my loan I don’t have money to pay back, I have arrears all the time and arrears are bad for a client’s record. If you have cumulative arrears you may not qualify for the next loan. I am now depressed because the loan I borrowed is over, the patient is still sick, am afraid soon my things will be auctioned. I can’t be rich; I will die a poor woman.”
‘I took a loan of 90,000 I lent someone who had a problem and unfortunately she could not be able to pay me. I had no money to repay this loan and the interest, I had to get this money from my own pocket, I really suffered and I will not lend loan again.’
These two statements weakened my bones.
I woke up this morning and walked along the Nairobi River; it was filthy and a home to many slums. Poverty is as naked as the hand. The citizens are hungry, sick and illiterate. Yet we are under the same government, attend same churches and schools but different financial status. Why doesn’t a poor man become rich? Why do the poor live in dehumanizing poverty to the grave?
Eury, my young brother was a drunkard spent nights in the pub drinking all night the money he earned in the day. A rich man spends sleep in his own house thinking of how he will multiply his earnings for the day. The rich men do not see children as investments but liabilities. No wonder a rich man can save yet a poor man will die poor because of his poor planning. A poor man has poor mind, poor planning and poor vision. Your mind must be rich before you are rich. It’s all in the mind.
The moment you realize that you are carrying with you what you are searching for, you can indeed know the whole world without leaving your house and see the way to heaven through the window.
If a man invests in a townhouse in up market area and later the house burns out with no insurance and the man has just been fired, is this man poor? Now he has no home. Can’t he also sleep in the streets and borrow money. Definitely these are easy things to do. But his mind and his lifestyle, will not allow him because he knows his status. He knows where he wants to go. Probably he could get a loan to rebuild on his land. But the poor will not know they will continue to borrow him money because they believe he is rich. The state of mind takes time to change. It is not easy to accept poverty, the rich constantly reject poverty by investing day in day out while the poor resist riches day in day out.
Head on my shoulder I carried my legs and went to a nearby cyber to send e-mail. It was on business, exactly what I hated most. Did I go to school just to be a businessperson? I wished my mind was a computer to delete this mentality at a click of a button. Each person has a business mind that is innate. Business is a way of life it’s natural but some of us believe in employment. What if after all you don’t get that dream job you have been looking for, all this time will you die a poor woman? Wakeup and wash your face, and before you know it you will be rich.
For sure I have not gone to any country without a poor man. The poor will always be with us. The best thing to recall is: never look outside for what you need until you have made use of the whole of yourself.
Son, I have to leave you, your Grandma’s voice is calling me, and I cannot defy her call.