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89 reasons why you think about poverty the way you do

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Pictures stick with us, sometimes for decades. For me it was the first time I went to Ethiopia, I knew the famine was long over, but those images during the 80’s were in my head.

In my head I knew that wouldnt be the reality anymore.  But the imagery was very strong.  It was the single picture I carried.


How many pictures of Africa do you think you have seen? How many pictures of aid work? We have all seen 10’s of thousands of images of international aid workers. What story do they tell?

I searched the web for pictures of people doing aid work and put 89 of those images together into this short slide show. Individually, each of the pictures probably tell a version of a story that is strangely different when you take them all together. A perspective that was not intended …

Here is my suggestion.  Watch the video and ask yourself a question:

What is the story that is being told through this collection of pictures?

The first time I walked into an African village my perspective of the quaint village shifted.

When I think of living in the country, living rurally, the picture that comes to mind is of “Anne of Green Gables” and “Little House on the Prarie”. Those were the shows I watched as a kid. Sod-busters. Barn-raising. Ice cream socials and square dancing. So when I think of village life I think rustic, hard-working strapping men and women who may be poor, but by using their few resources they pull themselves up by hard work and gumption. If there are any problems, they were solved in about 22 minutes – or 44 if it was a two part episode.

Some things are similar.


Villages are also filled with hard working men and women. They work together and share complex full lives. But the village there is very different than the village in my mind, the one I learned about from TV. In a developing country, living in a village usually means you are poor. Nothing wrong with being poor of course, but most people don’t want to stay that way.

What picture comes to your mind when you think village?

Mark Crocker

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