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Elaine Olelo Masters

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Member Since: Dec, 2001

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Oh, Lord, Won't You Buy Me....?
By Elaine Olelo Masters   

Last edited: Saturday, December 14, 2002
Posted: Saturday, December 14, 2002

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While Americans tend to have an embarrassment of riches, tribal people have little. Are we happier?

Oh, Lord Won't You Buy Me...? By Elaine Masters As we approach the annual shopping season, trying to find the perfect gift for the person who has everything, I think of my experiences with tribal people in Thailand. On one trip, up a mountain in a bamboo village, we were given breakfast each morning by a cheerful former resident of Myanmar (Burma). We sat on the floor around a low woven-bamboo table, each with a bowl and a spoon and one common glass for hot tea. “I’m a rich man,” our host told us through an interpreter. “Last year, we fled the soldiers in Burma, my wife and daughter and I. We had nothing, only the clothes on our backs.” I looked around the room. No furniture. No electricity or electrical appliances. No car parked outside. What made this man rich? He continued. “Now, I have a water buffalo. My wife has two sarongs. We have a good house. We have a rice field and the crop was good this year.” For a host gift, I gave him six Tupperware glasses. Next day, we had an extra guest at breakfast: the mayor of the village. “Now that you have given me more glasses, I can really entertain,” he smiled. Another year, we encouraged three tribal boys to go to Bible school in Bangkok. A Canadian missionary who took them under his wing realized their wardrobes were woefully small. He offered to buy them spare shirts. “Oh no,” one boy said. “We already have shirts, one apiece.” When I take Americans on mission trips to the tribal areas, they are initially appalled at the poverty. Then, as they observe the villagers, they become puzzled. “They seem so happy,” the Americans say. “They don’t know they’re poor.” Indeed, many of the tribal people are content with what they have. They have more time than we do for their families and friends. They have no alarm clocks, waking when they are rested. It is only as electricity and television reach the villages that they realize, compared to the lifestyles they see on TV, that they are poor. Then they become discontented. This translates well into the Hawaiian setting. We, too, are greatly blessed. Few of us are truly in want. All of us have ocean waves and mountains and rainbows. Let’s stop looking at the material things other people have and do what the writer of Hebrews said: be content with what we have. This Thanksgiving, let’s truly give thanks. THE END This article appeared in the "Honolulu Advertiser" newspaper November 16, 2002.

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Reviewed by SADASHIVAN NAIR (Reader) 6/7/2004
I read your article very intersting, similar situation I too observe with tribes from India. See below and click the clink for pictures and movie clips of these tribes:

Site name: poverty and tribes

Site URL:

Site descriptions: Tribes are socially rich economically poor. Nearly 68 million Tribals lived in India according to the 1991 census but number has now reduced substantially as forests reduced and their dependence on forest resources minimized. Economic and modern life style forced them to come out to get mixed with modern generation, but did not get proper attention and respect of their culture so most of them still live in below poverty line.

Best regards

Reviewed by Sandra Corona 9/3/2003
I agree with the contents of the story. Possibly, like work I've entered, the article wasn't necessarily 'as posted' folks.
Nice to meet you and will read more as time allows :)!
Reviewed by Johnson 7/12/2003
The story is not well written . It has no ups and downs .It is just like a brief account of ones's experience and comment on the experience . I think to make it a good story one have to put details into it .However , the moral , or the message is good .And the way , the message is expressed is quite new if not original .
Reviewed by PERFECT 6/2/2003
it was a good story i liked it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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