Innocent Masengo
That most Africans are poor, not because they really are poor, but because someone decides to describe them as such.
My grandfather is ‘poor’. He certainly lives on “less than a dollar a day”. He is now 95 years old. In his nine and a half decades on earth, he has never lacked, and he has never begged. He only attended one year at a mission school in the 1930s and learnt how to read and write. This is how he pulls it off:

大多數非洲人很窮◕•,不是因為他們真的很窮◕•,而是因為有人故意這麼形容他們₪◕╃。
我爺爺很“窮”₪◕╃。他的生活費“每天不到一美元”₪◕╃。他現在95歲了₪◕╃。在他在世的90年裡◕•,他從未缺乏過◕•,也從未乞求過₪◕╃。上世紀30年代◕•,他只在教會學校上了一年學讀寫₪◕╃。他是這樣做到的:

When he wants food, he goes to the banana plantation, looks at tens of bunches of matooke (banana) and decides which to harvest for the day’s dinner. Adjacent to the plantation is a sweet potato garden, cassava garden, yams and finger millet. To the south of the banana plantation are beans, cow peas or peanuts gardens. Down the valley is grazing land with tens of Frisian and cross-breed cattle. They provide him with milk daily, 365 days a year.
He also has about 20 goats. In Uganda, goat milk was generally not considered palatable, possibly due to the abundance of cow milk, so we never milked goats. He would sell a couple of them to supplement income from other produce to send his children to school. He also reared a couple of chickens, more as a hobby.
The farm produces more than he can consume. He sells the surplus to afford such essential services as kerosene (recently upgraded to solar), soap, sugar (at his age he no longer takes sugar, he uses honey — doctor’s orders).

當他想吃東西的時候◕•,他就去香蕉種植園◕•,看看幾十串香蕉◕•,然後決定收割哪一串作為當天的晚餐₪◕╃。毗鄰種植園的是紅薯園▩◕、木薯園▩◕、山藥和穇子₪◕╃。香蕉種植園的南面是豆類▩◕、豇豆或花生園₪◕╃。山谷盡頭是牧場◕•,有數十頭弗里斯蘭牛和雜交牛₪◕╃。他們每天都給他提供牛奶◕•,一年365天₪◕╃。
他還有大約20只山羊₪◕╃。在烏干達◕•,羊奶一般不被認為是可口的◕•,可能是由於牛奶的豐富◕•,所以我們從不擠羊奶₪◕╃。他會賣掉其中幾隻以貼補其他農產品的收入◕•,供孩子們上學₪◕╃。他還養了幾隻雞◕•,更像是一種愛好₪◕╃。
農場生產的東西他吃不完₪◕╃。他把剩餘的糧食賣掉◕•,以購買煤油(最近已升級為太陽能)▩◕、肥皂▩◕、糖(他這個年紀已經不吃糖了◕•,只吃蜂蜜——這是醫生的指示)等基本服務₪◕╃。

Scattered across the farm are sugarcane (for eating, not for making sugar) and fruit trees (guava, mango, pawpaw, avocado, orange, passion fruit, pineapple). He drinks fresh juice from mangoes and passion fruit. As is evident, everything here is on a subsistence basis, but very organic. He has done this for the past 75 years.
He had eleven children, my mother being his first born. He sent all of them to school, saw eight of them through college. He sold at least two cows, some goats and some produce each school term to send his children to school.
I went to live at grandfather’s place when I was 5 years old. I left when I was 14 (my family lived in an urban area). I learnt how to farm, milk cows, tether goats, harvest fruits (by climbing the fruit tree) and harvesting honey (at night using smoke).

農場裡散落著甘蔗(用來食用◕•,不是用來製糖)和果樹(番石榴▩◕、芒果▩◕、木瓜▩◕、鱷梨▩◕、橙子▩◕、百香果▩◕、菠蘿)₪◕╃。他喝新鮮的芒果汁和百香果汁₪◕╃。很明顯◕•,這裡的一切都是自給自足的◕•,但都是有機的₪◕╃。在過去的75年裡◕•,他一直這樣做₪◕╃。
他有11個孩子◕•,我母親是第一個孩子₪◕╃。他把他們都送進了學校◕•,其中八個人讀完了大學₪◕╃。為了送孩子們上學◕•,他每個學期都要賣掉至少兩頭牛▩◕、幾隻山羊和一些農產品₪◕╃。
我5歲的時候去爺爺家住₪◕╃。我14歲的時候就離開了(我家住在市區)₪◕╃。我學會了如何耕種▩◕、擠牛奶▩◕、拴山羊▩◕、收割水果(爬上果樹)和採蜜(晚上用煙燻)₪◕╃。

Why the long story?
My grandfather, just like millions of other Africans that live like him, is considered poor. He rarely holds money, and he rarely needs it. He produces most of what he needs. But using the standard World Bank/IMF descxtion of ‘poor’, my grandfather is poor. I live in the city and earn about USD 12,000 a year after tax, which in Uganda is a decent salary. But I can hardly match my grandfather in terms of providing for my family with fresh milk, fresh food and fresh fruits.
This is one thing most people that watch International media do not know about Africa: not all Africans are poor, many simply live differently than you.

為什麼講這麼長?
我的祖父◕•,就像數百萬像他一樣生活的非洲人一樣◕•,被認為是窮人₪◕╃。他很少持有錢◕•,也很少需要錢₪◕╃。他生產了大部分他需要的東西₪◕╃。但是◕•,按照世界銀行/國際貨幣基金組織對“貧窮”的標準描述◕•,我的祖父是貧窮的₪◕╃。我住在城市裡◕•,稅後年收入約1.2萬美元◕•,這在烏干達是一份不錯的薪水₪◕╃。但在為家人提供新鮮牛奶▩◕、新鮮食物和新鮮水果方面◕•,我幾乎比不上我祖父₪◕╃。
這是大多數看國際媒體的人不知道的一件事:並不是所有的非洲人都很窮◕•,許多人只是生活方式與你不同₪◕╃。


Ugandan farmer riding bananas from his farm to the market. Most people from other backgrounds would pity him, and consider him ‘poor’.

烏干達農民載著香蕉從他的農場去市場₪◕╃。大多數來自其他背景的人都會同情他◕•,認為他很“窮”₪◕╃。

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