SNIPPETS OF LIFE IN SYDNEY. “The Development Set” and Poverty. By Eleanor M. Trinchera

Anyway, it’s been three full months since my last contribution. My sisters have been hounding me for months now. I been to the Philippines and back, visited projects, friends and relatives, but I could not get myself to write anything.

It’s been months also since the current Australian Government, through Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said “Sorry “ to the stolen generation, a historic moment for all Australians.  Everyone is now waiting with abated breath, as to how the next chapters will be like.

And here I am writing my latest contribution, with only a few days left before I head off to South Asia.  A journey of several weeks, leaving behind the comforts of home and loved ones. Some people think that working in the development field is enviable.  Probably in a way, it is. Development workers get to travel to project areas and monitor the projects their organisations are supporting. However, this is not like any other travel.  You need to prepare for what you have to do. Paperwork and tons of reading. You have to wake up early, travel through winding and bumpy roads for hours and meet the people your organisation is assisting.  You get to see their conditions, feel their difficulties and need, but then you move on. You leave them and their situation behind, but the experience lingers in your memory.  As you leave, you hope that the next time you visit, their conditions have changed. However, there also lingers a sense of foreboding.

On the other hand, Ross Goggins in the poem “The Development Set says:

"Excuse me, my friends, I must catch my jet, I’m off to join the Development Set;
My bags are packed, and I’ve had all my shots, I have travellers’ cheques and pills for the trots.
The Development Set is bright and noble, Our thoughts are deep and our vision global;
Although we move with the better classes, Our thoughts are always with the masses.
In Sheraton hotels in scattered nations, We damn multinational corporations;
Injustice seems so easy to protest, In such seething hotbeds of social rest.
We discuss malnutrition over steaks, And plan hunger talks during coffee breaks.
Whether Asian floods or African drought, We face each issue with an open mouth.
We bring consultants whose circumlocution, Raises difficulties for every solution—
Thus guaranteeing continued good eating, By showing the need for another meeting.
The language of the Development Set, Stretches the English alphabet;
We use swell words like ‘epigenetic’, ‘Micro’, ‘Macro’, and ‘logarithmetic’ .
Development Set homes are extremely chic, Full of carvings, curios and draped with batik.
Eye-level photographs subtly assure, That your host is at home with the rich and the poor.
Enough of these verses—on with the mission! Our task is as broad as the human condition!
Just pray to God the biblical promise is true: The poor ye shall always have with you."

As long as there is poverty in the world, work continues for the Development Set. Strong countries can always create jobs for themselves, especially in the developing world. However, people in the developing world and in conflict-torn countries are now starting to realise that this is becoming a worldwide phenomenon and are starting to realise that they have to do something about it. Let’s just hope that the campaign “Make (Indigenous) Poverty History,” becomes a reality.

However, a  cyber friend said: “poverty is the result of the international socio-political and economic policies, forces and conditions that come mostly from the doings of the big industrial states that shape, supervise and control almost the whole world. Their policies, actions and decisions, the international competition, wars, they produce cause poverty and sufferings for many people.”   And, I leave you with that quote. (Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews' effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Eleanor M. Trinchera of Kidapawan City is a resident of Sydney and is now working with a non-government organization.)