It was a sunny day, breeze coming from the nearby river,birds singing as only could be heard in Africa. The peaceful serene and atmosphere of the nearby forest communicates rest and peace that God Almighty Himself had implanted in nature. Yet, despite the obvious blessings of nature all around, a young lad of 13 years old, was looking for a way to end his own life. He has heard several times of people writing and talking about suicide.
The meaning was clear to him. He knew suicide is a means by which people end their own lives. His dilemma was however, just how do they make it happen, how? Thoughts of poisons came to his mind, that is not a bad one, but where do you get poisons? These and many other thoughts clouded the mind of this young 13 year old boy that he could not as much as notice or pay attention to the still call of nature to behold her beauty. He was immersed in his own frustrations and anger so much that it will be an insult for him to have been told that there is anything beautiful in the world he lives in.
That young man is your writer today. My name is Sunday Adelaja. Will you be interested in knowing the reason that almost led me to suicide at the tender age of 13? As absurd and bizarre as this might sound, the reason is just because I couldn’t get money to supply myself with breakfast, lunch or dinner for several days running.
In the part of Europe that I live today, hardly will anyone believe that it is actually possible for a kid as young as 13 to go several days without food. This is in Europe. The reality of our world however is that on the other side of the world on the continent of Africa, my story will not be a lonely one. I will not be exaggerating if I say that millions of kids are in the same condition of living as I am writing of right now.
How will our world live with the thought that in the 21st century, there are actually millions of kids that would rather go through the pain of suicide just to avoid the pain of hunger? Let me tell you friends, the cruel reality is that as long as we are living in such a world where some go to bed hungry, and others live in opulent wealth, we are all guilty!
The reality is that so long as there is poverty in our world, we are all indeed poor. The conditions of our environment talks of the reality of our soul. We are all as rich as the world we live in. If the world we live in is poor, we are all poor not minding our opulence, wealth and riches.
Poverty is a reality in our world. It is a cruel, wicked and heartless reality. The United Nations Environment Programme states that every year, consumers in industrialized countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (222 million vs. 230 million tons). The amount of food lost and wasted every year is equal to more than half of the world’s annual cereals crops (2.3 billion tons in 2009/10).
In actual fact, no one should be hungry talk less of contemplating suicide in our world. The world produces more food than is needed to feed all the inhabitants of our planet;but because of the heartless and callous attitude of the people and nations who have this wealth, we are forced to live in a world where some throw food away while others die for lack of food.
I would however not sit down here and whine all day long about how unjust our world is. I have come to the conclusion that the world will not become just all by itself. Unfortunately, people are people. Meaning people are first selfish, egocentric, before they are considerate or compassionate. People don’t really care what is happening in the world they live in as long as they are okay, that is just the cruel reality of our world.
Recently, I started to observe the panic response of wealthy nations to the plight of immigrants and refugees trying to escape their home lands in search of better lives, who all in the process perished in the sea. All of a sudden, nations and Prime Ministers began to offer asylum and refuge to the survivors. I laughed out of amusement, not because I was mocking the kindness of these people, but more because, I wondered why it had to take such a grave tragedy for them to notice that the rest of the world has been languishing in need and want all the while.
I’m sorry friends, that is the nature of man. Until pain and devastation happens to us or at our backyard, we don’t really notice that this has been going on around us all the time. It is only when we feel on ourselves the pain of loss of tragedy that we normally come alive with a heart of compassion. Otherwise, we just live our lives caring only about how to make ourselves more and more comfortable. If I had one car, I am thinking of how to get the second one. If I had just one apartment, at that time I am not thinking of some poor homeless kids dying in some countries, I am rather thinking of building a house. This is just the reality of human nature.
I will not say that only the rich individuals and wealthy nations have these moral challenge, it is common to all. Even in those countries where millions are dying on daily basis, there are many others who could easily afford to take care of others. But just like in wealthy nations, they too are busy with getting more comfortable on a daily basis.
It is because of my awareness of this egocentric nature of man that I have come to the conclusion that the best way to resolve the problem of poverty in Africa and other developing countries, is not really through distribution of food or money. My personal journey from a 40 hut village to an international speaker, has taught me that the best way out is to empower our people with knowledge. The reason as I was later to discover behind my suicide attempt was really not the lack of money or food. The main reason that led to my poverty which almost killed me prematurely was lack of knowledge.
I have since come to discover that even in wealthy nations, this menace of ignorance especially in the area of money, is as deadly as in my 40 hut village of Idomila. Ignorance is indeed the biggest enemy of all. When it comes to poverty, the biggest reason for it is still ignorance. I therefore make bold to say that poverty is not a product of productivity or lack of it, even though that could be its consequence.
The real reason behind poverty is THE IGNORANCE OF THE LAWS OF MONEY. It is that ignorance that later leads to lack of discovery, it leads to lack of productivity, it leads to lack of sales, it leads to lack of opportunities, it leads to lack of services, etc.
Where that ignorance is present, poverty is a possibility. That could be both in Africa and Europe. I have since come to the conclusion that to liberate Africa from the grip of poverty, we must first empower Africa with the revolutionary knowledge of the laws of money. Back to my case in the village and my attempt at suicide, the flow of my thought at that time as I can still vividly remember is; why are some people around me so wealthy and yet my family is so poor? I will often wonder why I am so unfortunate to have been born into such a family.
I never could consider that those families who were wealthy were not just lucky or fortunate. I was never told that anyone who controls real wealth was first wealthy in their minds. Even those who were illiterate in the village nevertheless were very literate in the laws of money. The problem was not in the family where I was born, my problem was that my family was not exposed to these laws. We were not told of these laws either by our wealthy neighbours or the society I lived in. Neither our school system nor media program gave out any hints on how to make money.
To make things worse, the churches around us were not teaching anything in the area of economic empowerment or laws of money. On the opposite, our family and many other families around were rather constantly embarrassed that we could not give to the church as much as other families. In some cases, churches will actually be responsible for the feelings of guilt and inadequacy through their constant push for more and more offering.