It was made as an ordinary statement by one of my dearest friends, but has never left me ever since. He said to me years back:

“There are two kinds of poverty in the realm of human existence……

“The poverty of economics and one of values.

“When one has a poverty of economics, it reflects in their lack of the factors of life sustenance. They may or would lack food to eat, clothes to wear, houses to live in etc. They may lack legal tender to help others inspite intentions which is good, pay their debts, or pay for required services etc.

“But when it is the case of the one of values (even if they are economically sufficient) it shows in their attitudes, behavior and/or choices as they respond to what life presents and/or throws at them .The world around them would see it in their mindset, conversation and speech as a matter of habit and lifestyle no matter who they meet, where they are or circumstances they find themselves in.

“This one is a deeper and more deadly type of poverty because it is not found in the person’s environment but inside his/her person”

I have since practiced to live by that principle and to say that it has helped me tremendously is an understatement. And I’d tell you a moving story which illustrates how this poverty of values has been the undoing of many, inspite of gender.

In my late teens I identified with a certain local assembly in my city of dwelling at the time (I must have been about 18 or 19 at that time).There was this man who served in the leadership/eldership of the same as an under-pastor. Besides being an extremely knowledgeable, spiritually and academically, he was also wealthy financially speaking. As it were he was spiritually sound, academically accomplished and financially well-off. I’d call him Mr Billy and I knew him a bit well. He was someone whom a lot came to know with time and reports to have a terrible character flaw unchecked; WOMANIZING. Just imagine a Don Juan fellow with a boiling libido and also charging to put his instrument into anything as long it is dressed in a skirt…..even wrappers, dresses and frocks too…that’s who he was!

An incident occurred in the process of time around him which came to involve a second party named Miss Nanny. Unlike this man, she was a working class young woman of modest means and accomplishment and was busy going about building a life of virtue. She also hoped someday to set up a marriage of her own. She got to meet this same Mr Billy and being young, virile and desirable succumbed to his overtures because he made it obvious to her he would take care of her and meet her physical needs. From the onset, the term of the ‘transaction’ was clear to both parties though undocumented. He needed her to get into his bed and was willing to reward her with as many as she needed and requested trinkets, clothes, accessories, designer make-up etc. So the relationship ensued and went on for a while with both parties getting out of it what they both expected.

Unfortunately, Miss Nanny was engaged to another fellow with the intention to get married as her fiancé. He got to discover that she was cheating on him with Mr Billy and confronted her with it. She denied yet did not stop. Subsequent confrontations and quarrels yet exposed her philandering, and she still went on with it,still. When the poor fiancée realized he could not get her to retrace her steps, he simply abandoned her to her ways and ‘benefactor’ and moved on. The benefits of her new found relationship was just to good and true to be severed from.

Shortly afterwards she took in. Upon announcing to Mr Billy what had happened, he convinced her to get an abortion. He even offered to pay for it. She accepted the offer on the premise that it would do them both good since he was a married man and already had three kids of his own. The money was provided, hospital and doctor consulted and she went through with it.

Strange as it might sound, after the abortion was done, the man said he was no longer interested in her. She made efforts to continue but he would not bulge. He stood his ground that he was done with her and began cutting whatever cords bound them for the time the affair had been on. Her calls began to get ignored. His staff at his office became unfriendly and unattending (unlike before) as “boss, had given express instructions that whenever she came again she was not to be welcomed”. She could not go to his residence at all since she did not even know where it was (They always met in hotels and chalets when the going was good).

One day she came to admit to herself that this man had actually walked out on her and gone home to his rightful family…and possibly to his next victim. She had no legal basis to make any claims nor seek redress as she was not his wife .She had no moral grounds even to go to that same church where they met because naturally it would merely worsen and complicate matters for her and him by earning them an indefinite suspension or outright expulsion (On their part, the biblical standards of adultery on his part and fornication on hers would immediately come to fore in enforcement). So she opted to simply lick her wounds and mourn her loss all by herself. What made her case even all the worse is that she opted to blame the man for the loss of her true relationship as a consequence of her actions rather than taking responsibility for her own contributions in the whole affair. She mourned how much she had lost and clearly at the moment refused to unacknowledged what she gained. She suddenly forgot it was all at the onset a TRANSACTION.

Looking at the entire story on the surface would make you assume the position that the one in the wrong was Mr Billy. Afterall, he is the man. He was older chronologically, stronger spiritually, more informed academically etc and what he did was wrong by taking advantage of a poor young lady to her detriment. But a more wholesome view would show you to move beyond the how and see the why behind it. As in…why would a fine and such a promising young lady like Miss Nanny would trade a life time opportunity to have her own marriage and home for ‘needed and requested trinkets, clothes, accessories, designer make-up etc’? It all goes back to where I began as to the case of a person having a poverty of values.

(Putting yourself in her shoes)Yes, it is when you have a poverty of values that you would refuse to ask yourself some probing questions. What would make you share the bed of a man who already has his own marriage in return for “whatever”? Why would you go through an abortion to exonerate any man who already has three kids of his own and you none from the consequences of his own actions? Why would you rather lose a relationship in with which there is a future than walk away from one with which there is none? Are you so cheap a person that you would you would trade your virtue and future for immediate incentives? HOW MUCH ARE YOU TRULY WORTH BY THE SCALE OF YOUR VALUE SYSTEM?

(This one is a shocker) Do you know why I am being so hard on Miss Nanny? Just a few months ago, I ran into an old friend whom I saw last in 2002 and in 1997 prior. Our friendship emanated from that same church where we all were back then as youngsters (though she was much older).She has become a wife of one man and mother of three kids. She had been since back then a high flying career woman and has risen to a manager one of the topmost concessionairing outfits in town. During one of our recent conversations, she revealed (without knowing Miss Nanny’s story at all) that Mr Billy actually made a similar offer to her at some point in time. Her reward was to have been a job which she needed badly as at finishing school back then. She told me that she did not only turn him down on the occasion, she “walked out on him from his office with my back so turned on him that I have never needed and ever hoped to see him again, ever. Because, I have no need for such a job”!

I could say more, but I won’t. At least that gives you the opportunity to think the rest through.



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