Thursday 28 April 2011

A Hill On The Path

In a land far away, once upon a time there was great poverty: only the rich could manage without great problems. Three of those rich men, and their servants, were travelling on the same road, in a convoy, when they came to a very poor village. Seeing this poverty provoked different reactions in all three rich men.

The first couldn't stand to see it, so he took all the gold and jewels from his wagons and shared them out among the villagers. He wished them all the best of luck, and he left. The second rich man, seeing the desperate situation, stopped for a short time, and gave the villagers all his food and drink, since he could see that money would be of little use to them. He made sure that each villager received their fair share and would have enough food to last for some time. Then, he left.

The third rich man, on seeing such poverty, speeded up and travelled straight through the village without stopping. The two other rich men saw this from a distance, and commented with each other how the third rich man lacked decency and compassion. It was good that they had been there to help the poor villagers...

However, three days later, they met the third rich man who was travelling in the opposite direction. He was still travelling quickly, but his wagons, instead of the gold and valuables they had been carrying, were now full of farming implements, tools, and sacks of seeds and grain. He was heading for the poor village to help them out of poverty.

by Pedro Pablo Sacristán

Questions for your students to answer in pairs/teams:

1. What different reasons can a person have to donate or give away something?
2. If you compare yourself to any of the rich men, who are you more similar to?
3. What is the difference for people in need between receiving money, food, etc. and getting justice and means to fight poverty?
4. What is the difference to you between giving somebody in need money, food, etc. and giving your time, your knowledge, your experience, your life?
5. What parallelism can you find between this story and solidarity at present?
6. What steps do you think are necessary to follow to change our attitude to solidarity and really help people out of poverty?

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