September 30, 2011

Excitement & Nervousness (Day 70 - September 30, 2011)

I think I know why I couldn't sleep well last night.  No, it wasn't the cold . . . only went down to 3C last night (which was much warmer than the -4C the night before).  No, it wasn't the "mysterious, loneliness" I referenced in a Facebook post this morning . . . that came about after I couldn't sleep while waiting for the sun to come up.  I thought it might have been a full moon, but it wasn't that either as I have learned from one of my Twitter friends that the full moon will not come for another couple of weeks.  "So, for crying out loud, tell us already!" you say.  Geez, are we a little touchy this morning?  Maybe you were also feeling the EXCITEMENT & NERVOUSNESS that kept me up.

The Excitement.  I remember one of my brothers and I always slept in the same room on Christmas Eve when we were little.  We knew that neither of us would be able to sleep well due to feeling of being so excited we might pee our pants , and so we decided to keep each other company. That's a little bit like how I am feeling as I look forward to moving back into my home.  I can only imagine what it must feel like for someone who is really homeless that is getting a new home.  I betcha they're so excited that they could pee their pants . . . or whatever the grown up equivalent is (I'll let you know when I grow up). I give thanks for organizations within my region such as The Mustard Seed or Inn From The Cold that work with street homeless individuals and families to get them counselling or training, and help them get back on their feet in a place they can call home.  Or organizations like Habitat for Humanity that work locally and internationally providing homes for people in great need that don't have a place to call their own.  In a very small way, I can guess at how these people feel as they get a proper place to live, and I am so happy for them.

The Nervousness.  While the excitement probably caused me to sleep lightly, the nervousness is likely what woke me up.  Today and tomorrow I will be gathering with clergy and leaders in the Anglican Diocese of Calgary (I'm an ordained Deacon) for a Synod . . . which is a get together that happens every year or two in order to discuss and vote on important matters.  I'm nervous because it is in situations like this that I feel like I am wearing a great big neon sign around my neck that says . . .

"Hey . . . look at me . . . I'm wearing ragged clothes and looking scruffy . . .
why don't you point and talk about me behind my back."

Of course, I know this is in my head and that in reality nothing of the sort is transpiring.  But that's the problem . . . it's in my head!  I think we are hardwired to try to fit in and be accepted in community.  When we doubt our "fitting in", our mind can do a number on us.  Once again, I can only imagine how someone from the street or a refugee must feel when having to encounter large groups of people . . . it must be daunting.   I'm going to try and channel that nervousness into excitement (which, perhaps, are opposite sides of the same coin).  I'm going to see it as an opportunity to "represent" and to be a walking talking reminder about the needs of others.

You know what?  Just having that thought really worked!  Now I'm extra excited!!!  Excited about sleeping in a real bed soon AND excited about these meetings over the next couple of days.  Oh no . . . now I really won't be able to sleep!

WEEKLY UPDATE - Due to the Synod meetings mentioned above, my communication will be quite limited over the next couple of days.  I am catching a ride to and from the meetings, and so will be back sleeping in my tent each night.  However, I don't think I will be able to do my usual weekly update on Saturday, and therefore I'll bring you up to speed now.

Weight - I lost another 2 lbs this week for a total of 17 lbs since the project began in July.  That brings my weight down to 216 lbs.  It's strange because I think I ate the same as usual, and I had less exercise due to a couple of days being grounded by my sprained ankle.  Hmmm . . . must have been the cooler weather that caused the weight loss.

Finances - Thankfully I was paid for the yard work just before my ankle was sprained, and so I now have $20 plus some change.  I'll try not to spend it all in one place.

Ankle - Doing great!!  The swelling is down.  It's still purple, although starting to fade in intensity.   I guess that makes it more of a mauve.  I'd estimate that I have about 80% of my mobility back already and it's feeling pretty strong.

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.

Click Here to Sign . . . A Declaration to World Leaders

"I AM" (Official Trailer)

I got so excited when I saw this trailer . . . it's AWESOME!

This 2 1/2 minute video is the official trailer for a documentary soon to be released on DVD called "I AM".  It looks to be quite the amazing journey . . . from trying to seeing what is wrong with our world (and what we can do about it) to finding out all that is right with it.

We are all connected! "We are born to be our brother's keeper . . . it's the way we're wired." Check it out . . .

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.

Click Here to Sign . . . A Declaration to World Leaders

September 29, 2011

Poetically Speaking (Day 69 - September 29, 2011)

"Dr. Thad Pavarti Guy"

World Renowned Expert on Linguistic Anomalies
& Other Strange Things
The Person Who Recently Unlocked

As days contract, the heat could be more.
Temperatures last night dropped to minus four.
Consider the blessing of your warm bed,
And the luxury of having roof overhead.

Sick of my clothes!! But I’ve only two pair . . .
Of ragged jeans, worn socks, and underwear.
If your wardrobe more than that can boast,
BELIEVE ME . . . you are richer than most.

With hands rock hard from cold water, I moan.
Laundering my few garments on a hard smooth stone.
Unlike countless many who perhaps you’ve not seen,
Be thankful if you have access to a washing machine.

At first not partaking in a daily shower was hell,
But now I’m sorta used to my “manly” smell.
If you can bathe regularly, and the water’s hot,
Consider dropping  to thy knees giving thanks . . . A LOT!

Enduring sprained ankles and dog bites have been a factor,
But sore back and wonky hip most miss my chiropractor.
Health care, regardless of wait, shan’t be taken for granted
It helps us grow and bloom in the place we’ve been planted.

Walking everywhere has been a boon for my waist,
But with no car or bike, it’s tough to get places in haste.
Simply being able to afford a vehicle and drive,
Is a sign of prosperity . . . a real  indication you thrive.

Be grateful for food, water, shelter, and sanitation,
Access to health care and at least basic education.
These are rights for humans without which life is tough,
Therefore together we strive so ALL CAN HAVE ENOUGH.

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click to Sign . . . A Declaration to World Leaders

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.

Poverty, Money . . . and Love (Jessica Jackley - TED Talk)

I was quite taken by the authenticity and engaging style of Jessica Jackley, a co-founder of Kiva.  Kiva provides funding for micro projects helping the poor . . . small money from real people to real people that make a huge difference.  You can check out their incredible work at

My favourite part is near the end where she says that she is not going to engage in a discussion about convincing people to care because she knows . . . we already care deeply.

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

September 28, 2011

Counting Down the Days . . . On Poverty? (Day 68 - September 28, 2011)

I'm counting down the days until I'm out of the tent and back in my house.  Let me tell ya  . . . Thanksgiving Weekend (CDN) can't come fast enough! And, as I get closer, my excitement grows as I imagine lying in my very own bed, showering daily, and wearing different clothes.  I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is not a train but rather . . . hope.

I am perfectly aware that those in the many and varied poverty situations around the world do not have the luxury of knowing their experience ends on a certain day.  But that's EXACTLY what we should be trying to achieve for them!  First, in all that we do to assist people in poverty, we must be instilling hope . . . that their needs can be met and their situation will improve.  Second, we must make it happen.   I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record, but the thing we should all know is that WE CAN END POVERTY.

We have enough food to feed everyone (and then some).  We have the ability to house, educate, and provide medical services for everyone.  We have the resources, we have the technology . . . and all we need is the will to do it.  I'm not talking about each one of us caring more, as I know that deep down we all care and that we are hardwired for compassion.  I'm talking about AS A PEOPLE speaking up to let the powers that be know our desire to end poverty, and giving them permission to get the wheels in motion.  I'm talking about each of us translating that deep desire to help into action.  Our action represents the hope that someone in need desperately desires.

Of course, there are initiatives underway.  A few governments have plans to end homelessness, and some others have strategies to reduce poverty.  Excellent.  At the same time, many organizations are implementing life changing programs in the most difficult of circumstances.  Fantastic.  And yet, many people remain in poverty working their butts off to survive each day and trying to crawl out of the muck that is there lot in life.  These people, who could easily be you or me, need these wonderful efforts by some governments and many organizations increased by everything we can throw their direction.  We need to change our priorities, and then change our systems to match those priorities.  We need a MASS MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE taking a stand HAVING ZERO TOLERANCE FOR LACK . . . of food, shelter, health care, education, or sanitation . . . ANYWHERE.

We have the ability to bring an end to systemic poverty . . . to have its days numbered.  We have the ability to give hope to all of those who do not have enough.  So why aren't we doing it?

PLEASE . . .

One last thing for today . . . a lot of people have been curious as to how my sprained ankle is doing.  I've recently upgraded its status to "PBF" . . . purple but functioning.  It looks ugly but is working fairly well . . . I'm able to walk places but just need to give it a good rest at the end of the day.

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let`s make a world of difference together.

55 Year Old Homeless Man Carries 2 Masters Degrees

That Poverty Project is about creating BETTER understanding about poverty, which requires blowing stereotypes out of the water.  This fellow, Maurice Johnson, will definitely help us do that.
Homelessness can happen to even well educated people with a PhD . . .

. . . the poor, the homeless, those in need are people like you and me.

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

September 27, 2011

HYPOCRISY! A Letter to the Government of Canada (Day 67 - September 27, 2011)

Every so often, happenings in the world capture my attention to the point that I must blog about them instead of the daily happenings in That Poverty Project.  Today is such a day as I cannot contain myself in light of the hypocrisy that I am witnessing. 

There is no doubt that the world is watching the European debt crisis closely as it will impact all of us, especially the most vulnerable.  The Canadian government, along with others, is taking a stand to encourage a course of action that it believes is best for the world's economy.  A few days ago I saw a report involving Canadian Minister of Finance, The Hon. Jim Flaherty, which I have not been able to get out of my head. Why?  The words he chose in stating Canada's response to the European crisis were a glaring example of hypocrisy when compared with Canada's insufficient response to extreme poverty in the world.  Accordingly, I have written the following letter to Mr. Flaherty addressing my concern . . .


September 27, 2011

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Attention:  Minister of Finance, The Hon. Jim Flaherty

Dear Sir:

RE:  Troubling Discrepancy Between Canada's Position on European Debt & Elimination of Extreme Poverty

Without a doubt Canada is directly impacted by the actions of European governments in how they handle the current debt crisis, and so Canada should be speaking out to express its concerns in order to protect Canadians and others around the world.  To this end, I have been watching your comments on behalf of Canada with great interest.  In particular, I watched an interview you did with CBC on Friday September 23, 2011, which was reported in an article found at CBC On-Line Article.  In that interview you implored the European leaders to (i) find the political will to do what needs to be done and (ii) keep their promises made at the meeting of G20 Finance Ministers held in Washington DC earlier that day. I agree that the Europeans must find the political will to do what is needed, and they should keep their promises.  After all, it's the right thing to do.

However, your statements lack the intended moral conviction unless Canada does the same with the commitments it has made.  Just as Canada is affected by the current actions of the Europeans, those living in extreme poverty are directly impacted by the actions of Canada and other developed nations.  In 2005, Canada was a signatory to the UN's 0.7% Solution to make serious progress towards alleviating extreme poverty.  Canada made this commitment of 0.7% of its GDP towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals in order to benefit the people who are most vulnerable in the world.  Accordingly, those living in extreme poverty are looking to Canada to (i) find the political will to do what needs to be done and (ii) keep our promises.  Unlike many of the other signatories, Canada has failed to keep its promise . . . currently meeting barely half of its committed amount while not even creating a strategy to meet its commitment. This failure to keep our promises has resulted in many people remaining in extreme poverty who could have been helped, and millions dying needlessly from preventable causes.

I encourage you to rectify these inconsistencies in our policy, and find the political will to keep our promises to the poor . . . both in Canada and around the world.  Lives literally depend on it.


Sean D. Krausert
That Poverty Project

cc.  The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
cc.  Mr. Blake Richards, MP for Wild Rose
cc.  Leaders of the NDP, Liberals, and Green Party


In addition to the above noted government elected officials, I am also sending this letter to various newspapers.  It's important that all of us everywhere be a voice in shaping the type of society in which we want to live.

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to Sign . . . A Declaration to World Leaders

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.

Documenting the Faces of Poverty

This a powerful and moving 2 minute video that talks about poverty in America.  I believe that this is part of a project called In Our Own Backyard, an organization of photojournalists committed to poverty alleviation in the United States.  It is definitely worth the watch as there are some thought provoking statements made.

My favourite line is . . . "All of the talk so far has been about Main Street and Wall Street.  We've forgotten about the people who live on the back streets and can only dream of making it to Main Street one day." Steve Liss, Executive Director of

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.

Click Here to Sign . . . A Declaration to World Leaders

September 26, 2011

One of THOSE Days (Day 66 - September 26, 2011)

Yesterday I was only 5 minutes away from being finished the yard work I was hired to do, when I found myself lying face down on some gravel between two houses.  Thankfully, I was no longer seeing stars caused by the intense pain emanating from my left ankle, but I was feeling nauseous and wondering if I would be able to stand up.  Nobody was around.

Moments before, I had simply changed directions and my left ankle rolled on a rock. I have a weak left ankle due to an injury 20 years ago (nerve damage), and so this has happened before but not always this badly.  I decided I couldn't just lay there and so I hobbled, crawled, and hopped my way to the front door to seek help. I applied an ice pack provided to me and elevated it for a few minutes, and then bound it in a tensor bandage to limit swelling.  However, instinctively I knew that I had to keep moving . . .  becoming an invalid was not an option. With my ankle wrapped, I went and finished the last 5 minutes of work (although it took me 10 minutes due to the limited mobility). I received my $20 pay, and made a beeline for my tent.

However, faster than you could think "it could be worse" . . . it got worse.  At home, my dog was outside chewing on a bone.  My dog is the friendliest most lovable pup.  He loves to fetch his ball and play with other dogs, when he sees people he goes into a full body tail wag, and he allows us to do anything to him including rubbing his jaw while he is eating and yank matted hair from his ears.  Well . . . almost anything.  When he has a bone, his Mr. Hyde comes out and he doesn't want you near his bone.  I think it's his primal instinct to protect his kill.  Even knowing that, when I saw a wasp on the bone, I lunged to get the bone so my dog wouldn't get stung.  Unfortunately, my violent movement towards the bone scared the dickens out of my dog, and he bit me.  Yes, he literally bit the hand hand that feeds him!

(Side Note - For the rest of the night, my dog sucked up to me and lowered his head whenever he saw me.  I knew he was remorseful, and that he knew what he did was wrong.)

Okay . . . sprained ankle, bitten hand . . . I bunkered down in my tent to lick my wounds and feel sorry for myself . . . that's enough for one day.  Wrong again!  Last night a wicked windstorm blew threw the area that not only kept me up most of the night (until about 5 AM) . . . it caused some minor damage to my tent (pulling out stakes, ripping the tarp). FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

BUT . . . WAIT.  Really, it could have been so much worse.  My ankle hurts and is an inconvenience to be sure, but in another part of the world it might have meant the inability for me to work the fields or walk to the market and would result in my family going hungry.  Heck, even in the next phase of this project (Phase II - Struggle of the Working Poor) . . . it would likely cause me to delete all my funds buying gas to get me where I would otherwise have walked.  I'm lucky.  Further, my hand will heal and my dog has learned his lesson.  However, in other parts of the world where "bad dogs" (that's what they call them) run free, a bite from them would have necessitated sticking needles into my stomach as part of rabies treatment . . . IF lucky enough to be in a place with medical facilities.  I'm very lucky.  As for my tent, the fact that I have a tent to get damaged while protecting me from the wind is extremely fortunate.  Come to think of it, I'm not only lucky . . . I'm downright blessed!

If you have access to medical services, a roof over your head, and food . . . then you're blessed, too.  Let's not let inconveniences in our own lives cause us to lose sight of the big picture and our blessings.

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to Sign . . . A Declaration to World Leaders

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.

The Girl Effect

The following is a powerful 3 minute video produced by  As you will undoubtedly hear from many sources, education of girls combined with proper health care is one of the keys to breaking the poverty cycle in countless places.

Coming at the issue from a slightly different starting point, one of That Poverty Project's recent blogs addresses this same issue with respect to those in poverty having large families . . .
Just Stop Having Babies?!?

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

September 24, 2011

The Times They Are a-Changin' (Day 64 - September 24, 2011)

That Poverty Guy (Sean D. Krausert)
Day 64 - Enjoying the Sun / 218 lbs
I heard Bob Dylan's classic folk song yesterday, The Times They Are a-Changin'.  It's as true in this moment as it was in the 1960's.  Perhaps in some ways times are always a-changin' . . . at least we can hope.

I'm super duper hyper aware of change today.  It might have something to do with the yellow leaves raining down around me, or that my "little boy" drove through city rush hour traffic for the first time yesterday (he gets to use the vehicle A LOT with my doing this project), or that there's a tonne of speculation in the air about what will happen in the global economy.  I think on all fronts . . . as is the case with life . . . the times they are a-changin'.

I've been noticing the changes within me as I've been doing this project, particularly in the last week or so.  Sure there's the outside physical changes . . . having lost 15 lbs in the last 9 weeks, 64 days accumulation of stubble on my face, and my hair getting longer (and greyer, I think).  But much more than that, there have been some drastic changes going on underneath the skin.  Here are but a few:

>>> Sleeping outside, while sometimes uncomfortable (that's an understatement), has become normal.  Granted, it is only a short term experience, and thankfully I will have real shelter come the really cold weather, but I find it strange to be accustomed to it.  By the way, unless by choice, it's terribly unfortunate if anyone gets to the point where sleeping outside is normal because it can wreak havoc with you physically and mentally.

>>> I'm less caught up in how I look.  Yes, I still care about how I look, but given that I can't do much to change (i.e. no clothing options, getting dirty comes with being outside, etc.) . . . it has simply become less of an issue.  I look the way I look and I move on.  That said, I still feel discomfort when around others as I think they are all judging me . . . or smelling me.

>>> Speaking of smells, I'm way more used to the regular presence of my "manly scent".  At first, I was highly aware of not having deodorant on or my smelly socks, but now not so much.  Have you ever gone some place different and experienced smells that you find disturbing, and wonder how people can stand it?  I think people get used to the smells around them.  Just as something to ponder . . . . I wonder if people from other places think we smell funny.

>>> I'm hugely cognizant that one absolutely cannot judge another by how they look.  The happy couple speeding along in the sports car with the top down may be trying to coax some joy into their life after the still birth of their child.  The young, successful guy across the street working on his vintage car may be trying to keep busy to avoid dwelling on his marital problems.  The homeless drunk on the corner may have two university degrees combined with a world class depression that caused him to walk away from his family and his life.  We just don't know.

I'm not homeless, and I pray that I never will be.  However, this exercise in self sacrifice has changed me, and will continue to do so, and I further pray that some of the changes stick.  More importantly, I hope that what I am doing continues to touch the lives of others so that they can better see their own blessings, and be encouraged to use their gifts to help those in need.

I also think that the world around us is changing, and not just in an economic sense.  Perhaps due to globalization or social media or other factors that negate time and distance, people are becoming more aware of others.  There is growing awareness of the needs in the world, there is a growing awareness of the widening gap between rich and poor, and there is growing awareness by those in need aa to how others live.  And, with this awareness, there is a changing consciousness and a huge opportunity to allow the natural compassion within each of us to run rampant.  Hmmm . . . I'll end on that delightful thought . . . COMPASSION RUNNING RAMPANT IN THE WORLD.

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to Sign . . . A Declaration to World Leaders

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.

September 23, 2011

The Domino Effect (Day 63 - September 23, 2011)

FACT:  At bare minimum, every small act you do for another positively impacts at least two lives.  Yours and theirs.

POSSIBILITY:  Every small act you do for another may positively impact the lives of countless others.

A story has just made its way back to me via the grapevine.  Rather poetically, the story was actually influenced by this blog site, and now has gone full circle.  Here is what I heard . . .

A husband and wife are out for a bike ride.  At the end of the ride, a glorious mouth watering hot dog with all the fixings from a local street side vendor awaits them.  (Personally, I would skip the bike ride, but some people are gluttons for punishment.)  The couple gets to their destination, buy their fully loaded dogs, and just as they turn to find a place to chow down . . . they see a street homeless person poking through a garbage a little distance away.  Normally, they might have simply moved on, but they saw this fellow differently than they usually do because of something they had read on this blog site.  So, they approached the man and asked him if he would like a hot dog.  He graciously accepted a fully loaded dog and a bottle of water, and then told them that it was "one of the nicest things that anyone had ever done for him."

One small act, at least three lives positively impacted.  The couple felt good for their act of kindness and more connected to humanity because of it.  The homeless fellow undoubtedly was touched and felt seen, perhaps for the first time in a long time.  One can speculate that this simple act may also have deeper implications for the this fellow, but we'll never really know.  However, that simple act doesn't stop giving there.  It may be that the fellow "passes it on" in some way, and in doing so starts a chain of positive impacts on others.  Further, the couple will certainly help others with small acts of generosity based upon this good experience . . . perhaps not with hot dogs, but maybe with a warm smile, a donation of clothing or blankets, or volunteering in some way.  And, finally, the one small act impacted me.  Hearing stories such as this fuels my passion for continuing to create awareness and greater understanding about poverty. This was a WIN - WIN - WIN - WIN and possibly WIN-SOME-MORE scenario!

Okay, so how do we move from a positive impact due to one small act to real change with respect to poverty?  Well, I should point out that sometimes that one small act in itself leads to real change.  You never know if the act was the trigger for something else or the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back".  (Which, I might add, is a very strange saying.)  For example, our hot dog beneficiary may be so touched by this act of kindness that he uses it as a motivation to endure tough times ahead and get back onto his feet.  However, most often, real change comes from a series of positive impacts originating out of small acts.  The couple could experience real change in how they approach poverty by doing a series of similar acts, thus forming new and compassionate habits.  The homeless fellow may experience real change from a series of small acts done for him . . . a hot dog here, a place to stay there, someone to talk to, and lots of positive reinforcement.  In other words, each of us doing small acts for others will irreversibly change us for the better, and end up making a world of difference for others.

Important Note - This story is just one of numerous small acts that I have heard about, many inspired by some of the things shared in this blog. I feel blessed to be part of the process. Thanks for the opportunity!

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to Read (& Sign?) . . . A Declaration to World Leaders

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.

The Generosity Experiment

I came across this TED Talk yesterday.  It is given by Sasha Dichter of the Acumen Fund (which provides venture capital for projects serving the poor).

While Sasha covers a lot of different ground in the talk, I really appreciated the essence of the talk regarding his personal generosity experiment.  He realized that he had been conditioned to say "no", and didn't like that about himself.  As he points out (paraphrased) . . .  if we want to live in a compassionate and generous world, then we must be compassionate and generous ourselves.

I also like his point that sometimes we don't do what is right because we want to do what is smart.  In closing his talk he emphasizes, perhaps over-emphasizes, that we should ask the hard questions in a business like manner before giving (which I personally think didn't fit entirely with his talk . . . but perhaps it was a CYA statement . . . "cover your ass") but then says . . . "at the same time, be as generous as you can be."

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.

Click Here to Read (& Sign?) . . . A Declaration to World Leaders

September 22, 2011

The Wisdom of the Littlest Pig (Day 62 - September 22, 2011)

Lights! Camera!  ACTION!!

Coming off the absolutely bestest sleep in the history of the world (or at least my best sleep while in the tent), I felt energized enough to get into the "production studio" and create the following epic video event.  The stars lined up in order to make this cinematic treasure a reality . . . the concept comes from a piece I wrote in 2003 . . . and I'm deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with the great Dr. Thad Pavarti Guy, a world renowned expert on linguistic anomalies and other strange things.  I hope you enjoy this offering, which has taken years to finally bring together as a video recording.

Oh . . . and trust me . . . you have NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE ( . . . you can decide whether that is a good thing or not).


Feel free to share this video with others by clicking one of the share buttons BELOW.
(i.e. e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.)

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

September 21, 2011

Let's Celebrate!!! (Day 61 - September 21, 2011)


Choose what you want to celebrate . . .
  • A warmer night last night for That Poverty Guy . . . okay, maybe just those of us sleeping outside are happy about that one.

  • First Day of Fall (or Spring . . . depending where you are) / The September Equinox (new politically correct terminology so as to not be northern biased) . . . in many places in the north there is great beauty this time of year . . . and in many places in the south winter is ending and spring is arriving.

  • International Day of Peace . . . as declared by the United Nations, since 1982 September 21st has been recognized at a day for peace building.

  • Release of the Forbes List of Richest Americans is out . . . Bill Gates is still number one ($59 Billion) and the combined wealth of the top 400 Americans ($1.53 Trillion) is roughly equivalent to Canada's GDP.  Okay . . . maybe you only celebrate this one if you're on the list . . .

  • __________________________________ (fill in the blank with whatever you want).

Too often we don't take time to celebrate little milestones in life, special days, or just because.  I learned this lesson when on some travels to West Africa.  You would think that many of the people have little to celebrate . . . but they celebrate seeing each other, having food today, and many other things we take for granted.  Certainly, not everyone is celebrating and there is much to despair as well, but that doesn't mean you can't take a moment from the grind and be grateful for being alive.

In honour of everyone of us being able to find some reason to celebrate (even if you have to look really hard) . . . today I'm featuring My Top 3 Favourite Blogs to Write and The Top 3 Most Viewed Blogs.

My Top 3 Favourite Blogs to Write (simply click to view)

1.  Caught With My Pants Down . . . Literally!
2.  "Just Stop Having Babies?!?"
3.  HOPE - The Elixir of Life?

Honourable Mention goes to Really . . . What Does IT Look Like?
(but it was one of the most viewed and so I didn't include it above)

The Top 3 Most Viewed Blogs (simply click to view)

1. Panhandlers, Street People & The Mustard Seed
2. Really . . . What Does IT Look Like?
3. And Now For Something Completely Different

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to Read (& Sign?) - A Declaration to World Leaders

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.

September 20, 2011

Eradicating Poverty? (Day 60 - September 20, 2011)

Cartoon by David Baldinger
(to see more of his work CLICK HERE)
Years ago I saw a cartoon showing a reporter holding a microphone and asking a very thin African, "What causes hunger?"  The thin African responds quite dryly, "No food."

For some reason, that cartoon was running through my mind in the wee hours of this morning as I lay in bed trying to sleep ( . . . while being overly preoccupied with all my body parts being covered . . . it was -4C).  Although the cartoon was profound in its simplicity, the reasons behind hunger are many and varied.  Similarly, if we look at poverty as a whole one might say it is caused by "lack of resources".  However, in reality, the lack of resources is merely the symptom of varying underlying root causes.

As I see it, every poverty situation can be generally characterized in one of three ways.  First, there is what I would term "Recent/Current Poverty" . . . where the individual(s) in question have suffered some sort of hardship, physical or mental condition, or trauma that has caused them to fall into dire straits.  Second, there are situations that could be described as "Systemic Poverty" . . . where the individual(s) in question find themselves in poverty largely because of their environment.  Third, there are poverty situations I would call "All of the Above Poverty" . . . in other words those who are "kicked" while they are already down, being able to simultaneously fall into both of the first two categories.  And, within these general categories of poverty, there are a whole variety of situations and causes.

I know you don't want to hear this from That Poverty Guy, but we will never completely rid ourselves of Recent/Current Poverty since there will always be situations where something happens that causes a person to fall into poverty.  No matter what we do there will always be natural disasters that cause someone to lose everything, or physical or mental illnesses that afflict someone and drains all of their personal resources, or circumstances change drastically for someone causing a spiralling downward financial domino effect.  In Canada we have people falling into this category of poverty with mental health problems, physical addictions, single mothers fleeing abuse or struggling financially after divorce, people not coping well after tragedy, losing a job as well as many more causes.  Of course, globally we see natural disasters thrusting some into poverty, economic crises wreaking havoc with others, and many of the same things as mentioned that are happening in Canada.  While these circumstances cannot be prevented, we CAN put in place systems and structures that protect a person from ever reaching rock bottom, and that can help people get back on their feet or provide care to them when they are unable to care for themselves.  A social safety net.

Turning to Systemic Poverty, I believe this form of poverty CAN be totally eradicated from the face of the Earth.  This poverty arises because of lack of education, lack of infrastructure, lack of medical services, lack of capital and from failing to properly address situations of Recent/Current Poverty.  In Canada, we see this on First Nation reserves where their culture was cut off at the knees and is now reeling to cope in what is still a relatively foreign environment, and suffering all the social ills that accompany such a situation (addictions, unemployment, etc.).  Further, we also see children of those in poverty not escaping poverty because of lack of opportunities available to them or replication of the same issues that brought their parents into poverty.  Around the world, we see even greater Systemic Poverty in developing countries due to all of the aforementioned "lacks"  (education, infrastructure, medical services, etc.).  As a result, much of the population in these areas are not able to rise above mere survival.  The good news is that our world possesses the resources and technology to completely remedy Systemic Poverty.  The only thing we need to do  in order to make this happen is engage the political will within the powers that be who control the resources and technology.

As for All of the Above Poverty . . . this should never happen again after we have eradicated Systemic Poverty and put in place systems and structures to address Recent/Current Poverty.

I see a new cartoon forming in my mind . . . a reporter holding a microphone talking to the Earth and asking, "Really . . . what causes poverty?"  Then, the Earth looks back and says dryly, "Lack of will to stop it."  Let's change that.

For starters, you could sign . . .

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU

A Declaration to World Leaders


Because . . . 

  • Almost 1 Billion people around the world are hungry (i.e. having insufficient food to sustain life);
  • Over 2.5 Billion people lack access to clean water and/or proper sanitation;
  • More people die annually from poverty related causes than AIDS, TB, malaria, natural disasters, and conflict COMBINED;
  • Woman & children die needlessly during child birth and early childhood due to lack of basic medical care;
  • Lack of education entrenches the poverty cycle; and
  • Poverty exists in every nation in the world.

. . . and WE believe there are Basic Human Rights whereby EVERYONE has . . .
  • sufficient food;
  • clean water and sanitation;
  • adequate shelter;
  • access to basic education; and
  • access to primary medical care.

WE, the undersigned, call upon all leaders EVERYWHERE to work together in a non-partisan, non-political manner to ensure that NO ONE GOES WITHOUT food, water and sanitation, shelter, basic education or primary medical care on their watch.


September 19, 2011

Caught With My Pants Down . . . Literally! (Day 59 - September 19, 2011)

The above photograph is a simulation
only, and not the actual bathroom stall
in question.  Just saying.

Ladies and gentlemen . . . I don't want to alarm anyone BUT we've had a situation involving That Poverty Guy and the police.  Please remain calm . . . no one was hurt.  I repeat . . . no one was hurt (. . . embarrassed, befuddled, and momentarily demoralized . . . but not hurt)

The incident happened on That Poverty Guy's recent road trip, and took place in a public washroom of a hotel which That Poverty Guy was walking past when "nature called".  Fortunately, investigators at the scene have recovered the "Little Black Box" recording device from That Poverty Guy's brain, and the following is a complete transcript of the event.

PLEASE NOTE - When reading this transcript, kindly keep in mind That Poverty Guy has a physical condition that sometimes results in extended sessions in washroom facilities ( . . . and which is quite literally a pain in the derriere).

Transcript from Little Black Box (16:02 - 16:32 September 15, 2011):
16:02   That Poverty Guy ("TPP") enters hotel's public washroom on the main floor and occupies one of the two empty washroom stalls.
16:03    TPP thinks to himself how nice the washroom stall is . . . clean, graffiti-free, smells nice, and very private.
16:04 - 16:16   TPP engaged in "taking care of business" while having interpersed random thoughts about the meaning of life, how many tiles are on the washroom floor, where he's going to sleep that night, and what type of wood the stall door is made of (. . . yes, wood, as noted above it was very nice).
16:17    A single, loud knock on TPP's washroom stall door to which TPP replies, using the age old code for someone in midst of evacuating his or her bowels, "Busy!"
16:18 - 16:22  TPP still "taking care of business" and now thinking about how, if he really were homeless, he would likely spend a lot of time in this washroom.
16:23   Multiple loud knocks on the washroom stall door to which TPP once again replies, "Busy!" Muffled voices of at least two individuals are heard followed by a question TPP did not anticipate, "Daniel!  Is that you Daniel? We need to talk to you."  TPP responds quickly, "No Daniel here."  And then adds for good measure as it seems like the right thing to say at the time, "I'm busy!"
16:24   The muffled voices now confer, and one is distinctly heard to say, "But he's been in there such a long time!!"
16:25 - 16:27  TPP still trying to "take care of business", but such is becoming increasingly difficult with the interruptions, and is now worrying about whether someone saw him come in and knew he was not a guest at the hotel.  TPP starts to feel bad about his appearance, and changes his mind about spending a lot of time in this washroom if he really were homeless.  Too much hassle.
16:28  Multiple loud knocks on the washroom stall door followed by the following pronouncement - "This is the RCMP.  We need you to come out of the stall immediately."  Startled, TPP blurts out the first thing that comes to mind, "I'm busy!!!"  To which the police officer replies, "You have two minutes to get out of there.  I'll meet you outside the washroom."  TPP yells in desperation, "What's the matter?  What have I done wrong?!?"  No answer.
16:29   TPP tries desperately to finish his "business" and reaches for tissue paper ("TP").  Now, in a panic, TPP grabs too much TP to the extent that TPP's toilet becomes plugged.  TPP looks at the TP rising to the top of the toilet and wonders whether it can possibly get any worse than this.
16:30   Multiple footsteps entering the washroom followed by multiple loud knocks on the washroom stall and another pronouncement, "This is the RCMP!!  You must leave the washroom stall immediately or we are coming in!!!"  TPP looks down at the almost overflowing TP-filled toilet while pulling up his pants, and states again just in case anyone was of any doubt on the matter, "Just a sec . . . I'm BUSY!"  At that moment, the toilet miraculously drains, and TPP unbolts the door.
16:31  TPP emerges from the washroom stall to find himself facing two police officers, both at the ready to lunge should TPP make any sudden move.  TPP asks quite incredulously, "What is going on?!?"  The police officer closest doesn't appear to like TPP's tone, and states, "Sir, you're going to have to remain calm."  The second police officer looks back over his shoulder to the open door of the washroom where a security guard is standing staring at TPP and looking quite foolish.  The security guard then says quietly, "That's not him."  Both police officers roll their eyes and offer their apologies to TPP.   The police officers leave TPP alone in the washroom.
16:32  Not knowing what to do, TPP re-enters the washroom stall from which he came in order to catch his breath and gather his thoughts (most of which cannot be provided in this transcript in order to protect the innocence of young readers).

Clearly, this was a case of mistaken identity.  Nevertheless, I felt harassed while in a very vulnerable state.  Given that I originally thought they may have been after me for loitering, it made me think of how many people in poverty get similarly harassed when they are simply trying to look after their personal needs . . . perhaps going to the washroom, perhaps seeking some warmth, perhaps scrounging for some food.    I know that when I was much younger I thought very badly of a homeless man that was taking forever in the washroom facilities of the restaurant in which I worked.  I can promise you that I won't be having those same thoughts again after this incident.  
I hope that we'll all give our fellow human beings (rich or poor) the benefit of the doubt, and try to imagine what it must be like in their shoes before making any judgements about them.

Hmmm . . . I wonder why they were looking for Daniel?

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Tweets & Posts Update (September 12 - 18, 2011)

For those of you not on Twitter or Facebook, the following are some highlights from That Poverty Project's postings from the previous week:

Facebook Page ("Likes" grew from about 194 to 300 while each Post gets between 447 and 802 impressions.)

SEPTEMBER 12th - Can squirrels have Type A personalities??? I sure hope so 'cuz I saw the busiest squirrel EVER chucking down pine cones as if winter was coming tomorrow. If he's not a Type-A-gotta-get-it-done-because-it's-on-my-list kind of dude, then we better enjoy this weather while we can. . . . (and then later) . . . Do you hear that? I don't hear anything either! That's a welcome relief. For the last few hours it has been blowing a cold gale that has been rattling trees and whipping the tarp on my tent. It's finally stopped . . . at least for now. I had lost a layer or two this morning when the sun heated things up, but they're right back on as well as my gloves! (Well . . . as soon as I hit "Share" the gloves are going back on.) . . . (and then later) . . . Hokey shmokey artichokey . . . that wind can just suck the energy right out of ya! Time to bring Day 52 to an end. That said, as I drift off in my sleeping bag and protected by my tent, all wrapped up in my blanket and hoodie, I will be grateful for my blessings recognizing that I am still living more comfortably than over half the people on Earth (or more).

SEPTEMBER 13thVery manageable night! Despite a cool day yesterday, it only went down to 4C. A younger me would have been able to sleep much longer, but middle aged me could only hold his bladder at bay until 5:45 AM. C'est la vie! . . . (and then later) . . . I've learned from yesterday. At this time 24 hours ago I was butt-less (i.e. freezing my rear end off). Instead of losing layers too readily, I have kept them on. I've gone for a walk when needed to get the blood flowing and body heated. And I've stayed out of the wind whenever possible. So far so good! . . . (and then later) . . . It's funny . . . everyone is so concerned about how cold it is going to be for me at night when it is a cool day . . . but the night's are not bad at all, it's the cool day that is tough. But when it is nice during the day no one expresses any concern, but at this time of year those are the cold nights. Today the weather sucked, and so I'm expecting the night to be quite manageable. May we all count are blessings! Good night.

SEPTEMBER 14th - A rock concert last night! I pretended that the thunder was the crash of the drums and the rumbling base. The lightening was the lazer show. And the pouring rain was the continuous applause. As for vocals, that was my screaming. (just kidding . . . you could hardly call my whimpering a scream). But seriously, I fared very well compared to those who had no choice but to be unprotected in the elements.

SEPTEMBER 15th - Someone told me yesterday that poverty was old news and it was silly to try to raise awareness about it in the media. Really??? Betcha the 925 million hungry people in the world and the 3 billion who live on less than $2.50/day think it's a pretty current state of affairs . . . and that help would be appreciated ASAP.  . . . (and then later) . . . I'm troubled by the new USA report that says over 46 million Americans live below the poverty line. Combined with Canada's 3.5 million, that's 50 million people in 2 of the richest countries. Saying it is economic times is just an excuse. We can change these stats . . . it's just a matter of priorities . . . deciding to fix our social safety net and feed people instead of buying fighter jets. . . . (and then later) . . . Well, that's a first for me . . . hauled out of a public washroom stall by RCMP officers. Ended up being a case of mistaken identity and apologies were given to me. But for crying out loud. . . . (and then later) . . . As you know, I'm traveling and exploring other aspects of homelessness while I do. Abused fleeing their home, mental illness, and those living in their vehicles are all part of it. Found some shelter in doors last night which was a strange sensation. Tonight I'll likely be sleeping in a vehicle. I will be back in the tent tomorrow night. Of course, I'll blog about the experience on Saturday.

SEPTEMBER 16th - That was one of the more challenging sleeps ever. Call me soft, but this body was not designed to sleep in a car overnight. Just saying. . . . (and the later) . . . Back in the tent tonight, and looking forward to a much better sleep than in the vehicle last night. Day 56 coming to a close.

SEPTEMBER 17th - Wow . . . 10 hours sleep. Rainy last night but not too cold. I zonked because I was so exhausted. Need to get laundry done and hope the weather cooperates. . . . (and then later) . . . Hmmm . . . okay, a few changes over the last couple of months.

SEPTEMBER 18th - Cold night last night, at least it seemed that way. The actual temperature, I think, was only 3C.  I find I'm fixating this morning on a single thought. Has our society lost sight of our foundational values and ideals? . . . (and the later) . . . A couple of updates - first . . . great job everyone! Since my challenge just over a week ago the number of people who "Like" this page has doubled. Can we do it again??; second . . . the survey results are in! The question dealt with "How cold will it get overnight before Phase I of the project ends?" 5% said no lower than -2C; 35% said between -3C and -5C; 30% said between -6C and -8C; and 30% below -8C. Boy I hope the 5% are right!! . . . (and then later) . . . Day 58 is now in the books. I lead a service in Banff today that took place, appropriately, in a tent! It was cool though . . . everybody was wrapped in blankets. Then this afternoon and evening was quiet . . . needing to recharge a bit. Being outside so much really wears one down . . . I get tired and moody quicker. On the flip side, when I go inside I find that I getter hot quite quickly. Goodnight! . . . (and then later) . . . Hey! I just noticed that we're now up to 300 "Likes" on this page. That's fabulous because alleviating poverty is all about numbers. Lots of people being aware and conscious, and lots of people doing just a little bit more. In addition, I now have 1158 Twitter followers (@thatpovertyguy) and over 6000 blog reads!!  Let's keep spreading the news that . . . WE CARE!!!

Twitter Account (@thatpovertyguy . . . "Followers" increased from 870 - 1158 including many mentions and retweets by others)

SEPTEMBER 12th - What day does it feel like to you? I'm stuck on a continuous Wednesday loop. . . . (and then later) . . . When you only have few clothes, it seems almost everyday is laundry day. Wait a minute . . . it is. . . . (and then later) . . . In 2010, there were 15.4 M refugees & 27.5 M internally displaced people due to conflict. . . . (and then later) . . . Holy windmill Batman! It's blowing so hard that I think the tent and I will soon be going for a ride. Hold on Toto!!

SEPTEMBER 13th - Marking 8 years as a deacon as I awake in a tent to raise awareness about needs in the world. Hmmm. Appropriate.

SEPTEMBER 14th - There's smoke in the air. When outside all the time it is tough to escape it! . . . (and then later) . . . Almost 1 out of every 2 kids in the world live in poverty. We CAN change that. . . . (and then later) . . . To beat poverty we need many people engaged in the problem. THANKS to the 1st 1,000 followers on my journey! Let's keep spreading the word.

SEPTEMBER 15th - Taking care of poverty is a matter of priorities. e.g. Do we make sure everyone has food or buy fighter jets? . . . (and then later) . . . Based on new info, approx 50 million Cdn & Amer below poverty line (1 in 10 kids). Holes in social safety nets! . . . (and then later) . . . So . . . I was hauled out of a public washroom stall by some cops. Mistaken identity. Big apologies from the cops. Unbelievable!!

SEPTEMBER 16th - In depression, logic becomes fallacy, and fallacy becomes reality. ~ Michael Landsberg . . . (and then later) . . . Back in the tent tonight . . . should be better than the vehicle last night.

SEPTEMBER 17th - I REALLY need to do some laundry rain or shine. Sure will be easier in "shine" and so crossing my fingers re no rain.

SEPTEMBER 18th - As a society . . . have we lost our bearings? What's important as a community of people? Are we going in that direction? . . . (and then later) . . . I'm for democracy . . . but its weakness is that sometimes the right thing to do is not popular. . . . (and then later) . . . If you're loved by someone, have a place to lay your head, and know where your next meal is coming . . . GIVE THANKS!  

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.