One month ago I went to one of the poorest places in the whole country, the Mississippi Delta. I had the chance to share time with some young girls and guys from the Sunflower County, Mississippi, who attend to low quality public schools.
A non-profit organization works with them, helping to create leadership and to raise levels of education. When I was in the car with five other volunteers, one of them told us that the main purpose for us was to let them know and imagine how our origin countries are. “Many of them have never been in other country”.
When I got there, I saw them and from the very first second, I saw they felt interested in what I have to say. At the beginning they didn’t show themselves because of that shyness that we all have. The guys gave us a tour for all over the place. It was relatively small but full of knowledge. I saw that place as the perfect place to learn.
Every minute I got more and more surprised. Even though they go to a public school with low levels of knowledge, they have more knowledge of what a poor kid in Ecuador has. When I explained these guys where my country is, they knew it. On the other hand, if somebody asks a guy from Ecuador where a small country, like mine, is he probably won’t answer.
In my way back home I started to think about this global issue. Poverty is related to bad education; in this country teachers have better levels of education than in most of Latin American countries. Besides, the main problem in Ecuador is that education is seen as a business; as a result, just people with enough money can pay for a “good” education. I put emphasis in good, because not all private schools are good. In addition, not all are able to pay for education; most of Ecuadorian population lives with less than $200 per month.
Once I started to note these differences I realized that in the US, government is committed with a better education; while in our countries, people in power prefer to have all the population under a low rate of education and poverty because it is easier to manipulate them. In other words, people are less educated in our countries, because of the manipulation that government has. It causes at the same time fewer options to grow or to get to know other realities.