However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names.

Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends.

Things do not change, we change.

Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.”

Henry David Thoreau

Poverty bites

Cruising Manila during the wee hours of the morning, I found several children with plastic bags or sacks sorting out heaps of waste. Our mountains of refuse, from plastic bottles, tin cans,  stale food, are trucked away to dumps, hopefully far from human sights where residents won’t be affected by the noxious stench or the toxic leachate making its way into the water supply. But for millions of people living in poverty, these piles of garbage are a source of life and sustenance: the only one!

These people  rely on the scraps of garbage we throw away everyday as they have no where else to go and earn, no one else to ask for help…Nothing!


At the dump sites, each arriving truck means “manna” from heaven which instantly draws hundreds of scavengers. Sacks on their shoulders, black rubber boots or open-toed sandals on their feet, they rifle the trash to grab the best bits: plastic containers and sheets, tin cans, anything that can be  recycled.

Let’s make a stand together to help these children  gain its lost paradise. In a rotten environment filled with our refuse and waste, let’s give them signs of hope: birds flying where no birds dared to be.

Let’s start first with ourselves.


Poverty is the schoolmaster of character.” – Antiphanes

Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” – Aristotle

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” – Frederick Douglass

You are going to let the fear of poverty govern your life and your reward will be that you will eat, but you will not live.” –George Bernard Shaw

It is not the rich man you should properly call happy, but him who knows how to use with wisdom the blessings of the gods, to endure hard poverty, and who fears dishonor worse than death, and is not afraid to die for cherished friends or fatherland.” –

Horace, Odes

It is not easy for men to rise whose qualities are thwarted by poverty.”
Juvenal, Satires

It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed.” –Kin Hubbard

Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.” –Plato, The Republic

If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” –Charles Darwin

My poverty is not complete: it lacks me.” – Antonio Porchia, Voces

Society comprises two classes: those who have more food than appetite, and those who have more appetite than food.” – Sébastien-Roch Nicholas de Chamfort, Maximes

Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Poverty sits by the cradle of all our great men and rocks all of them to manhood.” – Heinrich Heine

We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise anyone who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition.” – William James

You can’t get rid of poverty by giving people money.” – P.J. O’Rourke, A Parliament of Whores

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied…but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.” – John Berger

Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit.” – Eli Khamarov, Lives of the Cognoscenti

The prevalent fear of poverty among the educated classes is the worst moral disease from which our civilization suffers. – William James

Love and business and family and religion and art and patriotism are nothing but shadows of words when a man’s starving.” – O. Henry, Heart of the West, 1907

We didn’t starve, but we didn’t eat chicken unless we were sick, or the chicken was.” – Bernard Malamud

A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money. -W.C. Fields

Affluence creates poverty. – Marshall McLuhan

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.” – Willem de Kooning

Poverty is the mother of crime.  – Marcus Aurelius

Hunger makes a thief of any man.  – Pearl S. Buck

To a man with an empty stomach food is God. – Gandhi

Almsgiving tends to perpetuate poverty; aid does away with it once and for all. – Eva Perón

Poverty is no disgrace to a man, but it is confoundedly inconvenient.  – Sydney Smith, His Wit and Wisdom, 1900

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.  – Mahatma Gandhi

For every talent that poverty has stimulated it has blighted a hundred.  – John Gardner

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.  – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, 1929

Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.  – William Shakespeare

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