Ten Of The Poorest Countries In The World

Ten Of The  Poorest Countries In The World

“Once poverty is gone, we’ll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They’ll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society – how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair.” Muhammad Yunus

This is a hard one for me. Why have we always spent so much money on defense and war? I have never understood it. I believe for much less money than we have spent in my lifetime we could have provided clean water, adequate diets, sanitation services and basic education for human beings in the world. It is possible that would have solved both the refugee problem and the terrorist problem.

Decade after decade, politicians and international organizations have failed to tackle poverty in Africa. Nor have they been able to help generate growth or build basic infrastructure.  Some countries here struggle more than others. The cycle of poverty in Africa will unfortunately  continue without the help of the international community.

The Central African Republic is the poorest country in Africa and the world. They have been badly governed since they received their independence from France in 1960. It is plagued by fighting, coups and rebellions. Political instability has prevented the country’s development, despite an abundance of timber, gold, uranium and diamonds. More than fifty percent of the population is below the age of fourteen. Children that manage to avoid becoming internally displaced persons or child soldiers often never enter the educational system. There are terrible health conditions and an alarming food crisis. Violence has displaced 1.2 million people and most of the country is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and  clean water.

There are two Congos. There is the Democratic Republic Of Congo and the Republic of Congo. The  DRC received their independence from Belgium and  The Republic of Congo received their independence from France in 1960. The DRC is neither Democratic nor a Republic. The extremely corrupt government rules over one of the poorest countries that is also one of the richest in natural resources.The world’s bloodiest conflict since WWll – The Great War of Africa has been fought almost entirely in DRC with over five million deaths. Kinshasa is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. The DRC is a country of human suffering on an unimaginable scale.

Burundi is considered the hungriest nation on earth. The unstable political situation continues to make things worse. Like much of Central Africa, Burundi is prone to natural disasters such as floods, hailstorms, drought and torrential rain which has contributed to the displacement of communities, the destruction of homes, the disruption of livelihoods and the further deterioration of food security. Burundi needs social and economic change and political institutions that are genuinely accountable to its people.

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Two civil wars in the last 30 years have decimated Liberia‘s infrastructure and led to widespread poverty.  The civil wars have left the country with inadequate roads, water and other basic infrastructure which has proved to be a significant barrier for economic growth.The wars also contributed to the over 250,000 Liberian orphans who frequently suffer from malnutrition and are sometimes completely abandoned. The lack of health care access often leads to high fatality rates. As far as education goes, only half of the Liberians are literate, and many Liberian children are kept out of school in order to help on their families’ farms. The good thing about Liberia is that it has the landscape, resources  and a new stable government available to make it a prosperous country.

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Life just gets tougher in NIger. Niger is more impoverished today than it was thirty years ago. Hunger is the biggest problem. High birth rates make it harder and harder to feed families.  Half the deaths of children under five are from malaria. Less than half the population has access to clean drinking water causing  typhoid and cholera. Any small crisis creates a humanitarian disaster. They need an international commitment to help develop the country and get it out of poverty.

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Poverty in Malawi is at a critical level. It is one of the  most impoverished nations in the world. Malawi was one of the worst hit countries by HIV AIds. There are over a million orphans due to Aids. As with other countries, lack of education, droughts, sanitation and corruption impede economic progress.

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Despite its  economic growth rates and the encouraging development progress made by the government in recent years, poverty continues to be severe and widespread in Mozambique. It ranks among the lowest in human development, life expectancy, and inequality. Rates of Malaria and tuberculosis are very high in Mozambique. Lack of improved water sources is a major issue for both urban and rural populations. More than half of Mozambicans must walk more than an hour to reach the nearest health facility. The potential is certainly there for Mozambique to capitalize on its many resources, but foreign assistance  may be the key to ensuring  Mozambicans are able to help themselves.

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Despite its rich natural resources,including diamonds and gold,  Guinea remains underdeveloped. Poverty and malnutrition have an enormous impact on children and young people in the West African country, where more than half the population is under eighteen years of age. Although Guinea has abolished school fees, learning materials  still cost money and many teachers are poorly trained. Children are dropping out of school and either looking for work in the streets or falling victims of child trafficking. As a peaceful country, it has become home to neighboring refugees increasing the poverty level.

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Eritrea is one of the youngest independent countries in the world, but it is also one of the poorest.  It won its independence from Ethiopia after thirty years of war  in 1993. It has become one of the world’s fastest emptying nations, Droughts, conflict, malnutrition and disease  is  overseen by a corrupt dictatorship that has been accused of many human rights violations. Attention is focused on the Syrian refugees but far more Eritreans are fleeing. Perhaps that is why it has been included in Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.

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Madagascar’s poverty is due to political corruption, economic colonialism, lack of infrastructure, poor education system and environmental degradation. There are severe food shortages causing serious starvation and  acute malnutrition. Almost half of  the children under five suffer chronic malnutrition, the fourth highest rate in the world.  Severe water safety and sanitation are huge problems.  Madagascar is an island. There is no terrorism. There are no geopolitical interests.There is a need for an urgent priority list but Madagascar will probably never attract the necessary donor aid from the global community.

Fly safe and I did not take these photos.,

JAZ

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Top Ten Travel Travails (say that three times fast)

Top Ten Travel Travails (say that three times fast)

“The Act of God designation on all insurance policies… means roughly that you cannot be insured for the accidents that are most likely to happen to you. If your ox kicks a hole in your neighbor’s Maserati, however, indemnity is instantaneous.”  Alan Coren

I think the word travel comes from the word travail. Travail comes from the Latin word: trepalium, which is instrument of torture. The definition of travail is use of physical or mental energy; hard work. It means suffering and singing the blues while you work. It means an epic Greek Tragedy is happening. That is how travel used to be for the ancestors, pilgrims, pioneers and explorers. It was arduous and life-threatening. I think going away back then meant having travails or  “travailing.”

I thought that I would write a blog about some of my modern-day travel travails.

1. You’ve spent months planning your trip. Life kicks in and things go wrong. For me it is  illness related, I sprain my wrist the day before I fly. I get a weird fever, rash or asthma the week I am leaving. It is definitely anxiety. I always go away carrying some new medicine or arm brace that I didn’t need the last time. When I get there, it is fine.

2. Other than Japan and Switzerland, I always experience flight delays. There are no explanations and no one seems surprised or aggravated in third world countries. Planes leave when they leave. Hakuna Matata is a real thing. I hate when I have connecting flights in these countries. I am always running through airports only to find the next plane is late also. There was that one time that the connecting plane was on time and it was the last connecting flight of the day and no one spoke English.

3. Rain can ruin your holidays. If your hair frizzes in the rain, you are going to feel ugly. There is nothing more dreary than seeing the sights of London soaking wet because a car drives by and splashes water all over you.  Running across a marble courtyard in high heels during a downpour in Ankara can be dangerous. How often do we hear “the first day was great and then it rained.” But rain is not exactly a reason to sit in your hotel room watching reruns of seventies sitcoms in Chinese. It is only water.

4. Malaria and Dengue Fever.  Avoid being bitten by mosquitos. Mosquitos prefer fat, sweet-smelling, sweaty people who leave lights on, and who’s fashion choices are bright colors and sandals. Daytime mosquitos carry dengue. Nighttime mosquitos carry malaria. Dusk can be both. Take malaria pills if recommended, use netting, cover up and Spray, Spray, Spray.

5 Being robbed not at gunpoint. (hotel room, pickpockets, car break ins, etc) There is nothing like having to contact your credit card companies, insurance companies and banks while on vacation.  If they get your passport, let me add in the US embassy.

6 Being robbed at gunpoint – ok that is really scary.

7. Food Poisoning. There is a specific misery that comes with being violently and uncontrollably sick in a place that is not your home and especially in a foreign country.   I am normally germophobic so when I travel I become the food police. I don’t know when the last time the street vendors have washed their utensils or what kind of water they are cooking in. It is not enough for me to just not drink or brush your teeth with tap water in countries with poor sanitation. After seeing “Slumdog Millionaire” I now have to worry about fake sealed bottles of water and make sure to drink a reputable local brand.

8. No electricity. Many third world countries have power outages. It’s always a good idea to carry a flashlight or perhaps a generator if light is important to you. Find the stairs if you are staying in a hotel with an elevator. From experience, I try not to stay on a high floor if I see bad weather, lights flickering or dim street lights. It is pretty much of a given that it will happen somewhere when you are in India or Africa . You might be traveling to places with no or limited electricity.  Be aware of that before your cell phone dies.

9. No hot water. Hot water is a luxury that we take for granted. There are moist towelettes and dry shampoo but you might at some point have to take that very cold shower.

10. Poverty and begging. In third world countries you are going to be approached by children, the elderly and people with physical and mental disabilities begging in the street. It’s hard to see and to know what to do. I’ve heard if you give kids money it keeps them on the street supporting their families and out of school. It is said that if you give things in packages, they can sell them for drugs or glue to sniff. People maim and blind kids on purpose to get more money. I don’t know what the truth is. It is something I don’t understand so it is best  for me to give to charitable organizations in the country.  I always bring pencils, stickers and small inflatable balls to give out. It is not an answer but it is something.

These are the challenges that I face on the road to adventure. They are the anythings that can and always do happen. The most interesting things happen when I am cold, hot,  hungry, wet, tired and uncomfortable. The travails become the stories.

 

Fly safe,

JAZ