.. five die of starvation or preventable infectious disease” (Readings on Poverty). This does not happen because there is a lack of food in our world today, but because of the urban peoples’ lack of money today. In order to provide food for a family, there must be available work; either harvesting or buying food themselves. In many nations, there is a great lack of work; such at the author of Nectar in a Sieve proves.
Ruki and Nathan, as happy as they may seem, fear for their survival when the rains come too late. As Nathan becomes weaker and weaker, the less hope Ruki has that her family will have enough to eat. “Ira and I did what we could; but the land is mistress to man, not to woman: the heavy work is needed beyond her strength” (Markandaya 131). Nathan cannot work as well as he used to because of his illness, which is an effect of malnutrition. When Ruki says, “the land is mistress to man, not to woman” she is pointing out the fact that as much as she can help out, it is still not enough.
If Nathan were to get deathly ill, Ruki would not be able to survive because she cannot withstand the work needed for the fields. Ruki knows nothing other than to be a wife and write. Nathan says, “We cannot live except by the land, for I have no other knowledge or skill” (138). He too, recognizes the lack of work options for himself and his family. They only way for them to survive is if Nathan works the land, not just because that is his only skill, but also because they live in a small village and there are not many options.
Ruki and Nathan are not the only people who realize something needs to be done to earn money. Ira, an unmarried daughter of Ruki, realizes something must be done to aid in this dilemma. Kuti, the youngest of Rukis children, is slowly starving. Ira takes care of him as if he were the child she could not have, and protects him as well. Ira says, “Tonight and tomorrow and every night, so long as there is a need. I will not hunger anymore” (103).
When Ira says “Tonight and tomorrow and every night” she is saying that she will go on prostituting for as long as it takes to help Kuti become well. Once again this proves the lack of work in rural India. The lack of work is just another of the many results from the limited options. In many third world nations, there is a great lack of literacy. “Nearly one-sixth of the 5.9 billion people in the world cannot read or write” (Illiteracy, Infant Deaths).
Its evident that illiteracy rates will steadily grow while we move into the next century because only one out of every four children in the worlds poorest nations is in school. In Nectar in a Sieve, Ruki proves the importance of the necessity of reading skills. “..I would set myself up as a reader of letters such as there are in most villages, and surely also in cities” (Markandaya 168). To earn enough money for a trip to their home in the rural village, Ruki can use her unique skills to earn more money than her husband could. In Africa, the percentage of adults who are literate varies greatly from country to country. From the highest of Zimbabwe with eighty-five percent adults literate, to the lowest, Niger, with only thirteen percent of the adults with the capability of reading.
On average, fifty-six percent of African adults are able to read. Poverty has been a baleful factor of the mortality rate in our world, and probably always will be. From Ruki and Nathan we can learn that no matter how much heartache and troubles there seem to be while living a destitute life, never lose hope, love or even pride. One fifth of the world will struggle more than the rest of us and yet we all will find ways to adapt and survive to the most indigent conditions. The worlds people must have prowess in their lives to overcome all the challenges in life.
During life efforts should be put fourth to alleviate poverty. The range of possibilities is virtually unlimited. From everything, its obvious that somewhere in the cradle of humanity, there is someone that is worse off than you are. Children starving, cold on the streets, parents without work. Although hard to imagine, it is true. Homelessness, hunger, lack of work and illiteracy are all just tiny fish in a great lake of problems of poverty in the world today. Jump in and try to help one out.
It is simple a matter of will. Works Cited Aaseng, Nathan. Ending World Hunger. New York: Franklin Watts, 1991. Hope, Marjorie and James Young.
The Faces of Homelessness. Massachusetts: D.C. Heath and Company, 1986. “Illiteracy, Infant Deaths and Fertility Rates” NCPA International Issues. http://www.ncpa.org/pi/internat/pd120998d.html 20 May 2000. Markandaya, Kamala.
Nectar in a Sieve. New York: Penguin Group, 1982. Orr, Lisa, ed. The Homeless: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1990. “Readings on Poverty, Hunger, and Economic development” Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism. http://www.faculty.plattsburgh.edu/richard.robbins /legacy/hunger readings.htm 20 May 2000 Works Consulted Aaseng, Nathan.
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“Torontos homeless live longer than U.S. homeless” http://www.cnn.com/1999/ALLPOLITICS/stories/12/05/ ny.senate 17 May 2000. “Unit 18: Malnutrition: Determinants, extent and effects” ODC Tutorial. http://www.odc.com/anthro/tutorial/ tunit18.html 20 May 2000.