Hi there! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, full of good food and good company. Mine was…okay, but I made the most of it. I did have to take a few days off from the blog before and after the holiday, to finish shopping, prepare tons of eats and treats, and of course, after my relatives left, to recover and prepare to greet 2011! But, I’m back now, and want to get back to the business of talking about travel and things of that nature. Also, the GoLite Travel Gear giveaway will end on January 5th at noon CST, so if you haven’t entered, or want more entries, you still have time! Lastly, I have another giveaway coming up as well, which will start in mid-January, so be on the lookout for that!
Photo Courtesy of Bonded Labor
In recent years, I’ve discovered the importance of recognizing how privileged I am to live in a country that allows me to speak freely, live where I want, do what I want, and for the most part, be who I am without penalty. People in some countries do not have these freedoms, and worse yet, they live in abject poverty. The commercials that ask Americans for money, as sensationalized and questionable as they are, do speak to the conditions that nearly half the world’s children and their parents live in. There are millions of people who live on pennies a day, who would have to spend years trying to save what we each spend on lattes and meals out, and for the most part, it goes unnoticed. Worse yet, there are people in these countries who are living quite well, but at the expense of their peers.
Above is a photo of farm workers in Bangladesh. At first glance, it would appear that this is perhaps a family tending to their crops, but in reality, it’s a an impoverished family that owes money to a businessman or land owner, and tending to this field is the only way they can attempt to settle the debt. The problem with this is that they will never be able to do so, because the interest rates are insanely high, and the debtors will peridoically change the terms of repayment at will. It is recognized as an unfair but common practice, and the United Nations, as well as numerous human rights organizations, have called on the governments of Bangladesh and other South Asian countries to put an end to debt bondage for years, but those calls have largely gone unheeded.
Debt bondage is just that: bondage. Most people do not stand a chance of ever paying their debt back, and if they do manage it, it will take them decades. Although adults owe the money to debtors, it is usually children who do the work, either alone, or alongside their parents. For me, part of living in the United States is using my freedom to secure the freedom of others, and to encourage my peers to do the same. There’s not much that can be done at this point, other than supporting the work of organizations that are fighting to end debt bondage and set these people free. Below is a list of organizations that you can donate to or help publicize:
Learn more about debt bondage: