Seeing the World/6
by Sara Talken
The Book of Mev really opened my eyes to new levels of poverty. I always knew that poverty existed in third world countries but I never knew to what extent. Mev’s photojournalism really helped me understand just how severe the poverty in the Caribbean and South America really is. I am a visual learner. Seeing pictures and diagrams of how things work is my ideal way of learning. Seeing Mev’s pictures in this book really helped me to comprehend the severity of these people’s situations. Like the cliché says, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” the looks on the children’s faces and the sadness I could see in their eyes really hit home with me. These pictures spoke a stronger message to me than any lecture I’ve heard about the poverty in El Salvador or any article or news report about the poverty in third world countries. I admire Mev for creating such a touching and thought-provoking tool to show the world about the effects of poverty.
Mev came from an affluent suburb of St. Louis, yet she didn’t look down on the people who had less than she did. I can relate to Mev in this way. I grew up in a wealthy suburb of Kansas City. People at my high school received brand new BMWs for the fifteenth birthday. It is not a big deal, for some people, to go into Nordstrom and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on clothes, shoes and accessories that will be out of style in a year or two. I’ll admit that I have gotten caught up in this storm of materialism and I would use shopping as a stress reliever or a way to get rid of my boredom. Now that I am in college and have burst out of my “Johnson County bubble,” expensive clothes, shoes, cars, and houses are no longer what encompass my thoughts. Sure, I’d love to live comfortably one day, but my eyes have been opened to a whole new world of people through my college experiences. I was taken aback by the amount of homeless people that wandered the sidewalks around the SLU campus. Also, the number of African American people really caught me off guard because where I am from an area where the dominant race is white/ Caucasian. I had never witnessed true diversity before college and I was quite sheltered and naïve about the world outside of Overland Park, Kansas.
My dream of becoming a doctor inspires me to change the way all people are treated, just as Mev wanted fairness and equality for all. I do think the fight against worldwide poverty is something everyone should participate in, but this cannot be accomplished until each country works to fix their own poverty problem. The United States falls into this category. There are hundreds of thousands of people that live below the poverty line in our country. I know that this needs to be addressed in much more detail than is being done. One issue that falls in my field of interest is the universal health care plan proposed by the Obama administration. I believe that each person has the right to care, no matter what their financial status. This isn’t exactly a way to fight the issue of poverty, but it is a step in the right direction for equality for all people. I feel that if Mev was alive today, this is a topic she would have a lot to speak about.
Mev lived a very inspirational life. Her devotion to the poor and having their stories heard in order to bring them a better life gives guidance to others who want to follow in Mev’s footsteps. Her journey was not an easy one, but having someone to look up to give hope to others with dreams like Mev.
–Sara is a pre-med junior at Saint Louis University.