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Poverty Has its Own Rhythm

Poverty has its own rhythm and we at Martha’s Task invite you to dance with us. First, however it might be helpful to learn some of the basic dance steps. Doing so may help prevent a lot of stepping on vulnerable toes. The first step is to realize that in poverty there is no future story, there is only the present. A person on the margins of society may not know where the next meal is coming from or if the baby will have a clean diaper after the present one is soiled. Who knows for sure if the car will start in the morning, or if there will be water when the tapped is turned, some don’t even know for sure where they will live. The poor don’t invest in such future commodities as insurance, or bank accounts, or retirement funds. The present is the only certainty that one has. This presents quite a problem when one joins an economic development program such as Martha’s Task and is asked to start sewing for a future date. There is simply no trust, vision, or experience of a future to plan for.

We have been readying for this website for at least 4 years. Internet sales are something very foreign to our seamstresses, most of whom had never used a computer. There is nothing in their imaginations or in their experiences to give them hope that an on-line marketing venture will succeed. As of this writing not one seamstress has created an item to be marketed on the new website. We now have one month before the internet store opens. Our urgings to plant the seeds of the near future fall on hard ground. We nudge them along, knowing full well that if we push too hard they simply will not show up – life is just too hard.



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     Susan Murphy