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Thread: Anyone have experience living in a "developing" country?

  1. #1
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    Anyone have experience living in a "developing" country?

    Meaning no offense with the term.

    I'm trying to get a feel for day to day living in such a place. The typical experiences and activities.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  2. #2
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    Spent a while teaching in Zambia. My experience would not be the experience of native Zambians however.

    Grant Hutchison
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Spent a while teaching in Zambia. My experience would not be the experience of native Zambians however.

    Grant Hutchison
    Well, sure, but you'd still know more about their lives than I do, having observed more closely. I'd appreciate any help.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Well, countries vary, people's circumstances vary, and times change. Mobile phones have caused a lot of changes recently, which I don't have much of a handle on.

    It's a big topic, really. What sort of scenario did you have in mind? Urban/rural? Impoverished/getting by/prosperous?

    Grant Hutchison
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    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

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    Also, just a nitpick, but not all developing countries are the same. If somebody asks me what itís like to live in a developed country, i canít say with confidence that the experience in Norway, Japan, and the US will be the same. There are similarities, but again it depends on your status in society.

    In a lot of cases, it wouldnít make that much of a difference. Your house might not have central heating, but then again it might not need it. And the public transportation might not be great, but then there are places in the developed world where it isnít so great either.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Well, countries vary, people's circumstances vary, and times change. Mobile phones have caused a lot of changes recently, which I don't have much of a handle on.

    It's a big topic, really. What sort of scenario did you have in mind? Urban/rural? Impoverished/getting by/prosperous?

    Grant Hutchison
    I'd say rural, fairly impoverished. Pre-phones.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    I spent 1972 at a US Army base in rural South Korea. Quite a different country then to what it is now. My day-to-day life was not like that of the locals, of course, but I saw a lot of poverty and people just trying to get by. Sanitation, in particular, was dramatically different from what we would expect.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I spent 1972 at a US Army base in rural South Korea. Quite a different country then to what it is now. My day-to-day life was not like that of the locals, of course, but I saw a lot of poverty and people just trying to get by. Sanitation, in particular, was dramatically different from what we would expect.
    In what ways? I know there was probably no trash collection. Or do you mean like cesspools?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    I mean like outhouses, whose contents were used to fertilize the rice fields. That was usual in the countryside at that time. I knew a guy who got typhoid because he swam in a local river.
    Life in that village was of course seriously distorted by the presence of the army base. The principle industry was prostitution, and the girls were not in it by choice. That kind of thing is going to happen in any developing country where a major "Western" presence intrudes, military or other.
    ETA: Trash collection: Recycling was a necessity to these folks. Anything that could possibly be sold or reused was. The Army had a contract with a local veterans association to take our trash, so they could collect the recyclables out of it. There was a problem with other Korean employees on the base literally stealing our trash, especially beer bottles and cans. It was said that the female employees were 20 pounds heavier going out the gate than they'd been coming in because of all the stuff hidden under their clothing.
    Last edited by Trebuchet; 2018-Sep-25 at 02:42 PM.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I'd say rural, fairly impoverished. Pre-phones.
    So, some places in the world that would involve working for an agri-business. In Zambia, still a lot of small farmers supplying most of the country's food. So I guess in that specific setting you're talking about a subsistence farm that can intermittently sell stuff to produce cash. That's a big hassle in that sort of setting - the interface between the traditional economy and the cash economy. You need cash for medicine and for schooling.
    So a wooden or brick house, one or two rooms, a small herd of cattle (20-40), arable land that you use the cattle to help plough. Domestic beer-making was a thing in Zambia, and you could buy it by the roadside, which was a way of people getting cash, as were local produce markets. People would sell any calves from their herd so as to school their children - you'd see barefoot kids walking to school, sometimes wearing school uniforms. I remember they used to climb into my (open) car and beg for "school pens", not cash.
    No electricity, no sanitation, a walk to the river or a standpipe or a well for water. Maybe charity organizations coming in to dig wells, build schools, provide spectacles. WHO or government initiatives for vaccination or eye exams.
    Acute ill-health was a disaster. We'd see fit young men with appendicitis who were nearly dead, because they'd been brought by cart on a two-day journey to the local medical station. At the hospital in Lusaka, relatives provided food for the patients, and washed their linens in the river. So a sick relative could soak up all the cash and surplus resources for an entire extended family.

    Grant Hutchison
    Blog

    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I'm trying to get a feel for day to day living in such a place. The typical experiences and activities.
    I taught at a small school in Kenya many moons ago. No electricity. No running water. They grew corn and herded a few cattle. The village had small shops - a bakery, a store for meat, you could get warm sodas, warm beer... I guess I had a lot of time for reading...
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    So, some places in the world that would involve working for an agri-business. In Zambia, still a lot of small farmers supplying most of the country's food. So I guess in that specific setting you're talking about a subsistence farm that can intermittently sell stuff to produce cash. That's a big hassle in that sort of setting - the interface between the traditional economy and the cash economy. You need cash for medicine and for schooling.
    So a wooden or brick house, one or two rooms, a small herd of cattle (20-40), arable land that you use the cattle to help plough. Domestic beer-making was a thing in Zambia, and you could buy it by the roadside, which was a way of people getting cash, as were local produce markets. People would sell any calves from their herd so as to school their children - you'd see barefoot kids walking to school, sometimes wearing school uniforms. I remember they used to climb into my (open) car and beg for "school pens", not cash.
    No electricity, no sanitation, a walk to the river or a standpipe or a well for water. Maybe charity organizations coming in to dig wells, build schools, provide spectacles. WHO or government initiatives for vaccination or eye exams.
    Acute ill-health was a disaster. We'd see fit young men with appendicitis who were nearly dead, because they'd been brought by cart on a two-day journey to the local medical station. At the hospital in Lusaka, relatives provided food for the patients, and washed their linens in the river. So a sick relative could soak up all the cash and surplus resources for an entire extended family.

    Grant Hutchison
    My bold. I am only one generation removed from such an environment right here in the USA, specifically in rural Arkansas during the Great Depression. About 1931 my mother and her family moved in with her dad's parents on their farm to have plenty to eat after her dad's oil drilling business in west Texas had dried up. When they arrived the farm had no electricity or running water. It was mostly subsistence farming, with four cows for milk and calves that became beef, two mules for pulling the plow and the harvester, and lots of chickens. The neighbors were in similar work, and it was largely a barter economy. Mom and her two sisters were doing woman-sized chores as little girls, and their brother helped their grandfather in milking the cows by hand, starting about age 9. Fortunately there was 20th century medical care not too far away, and her parents were both college educated and able to earn some cash as schoolteachers while being a huge help on the farm. They introduced the farmers to improved crop rotation and soil conservation practices, and in about six years brought that little hamlet fast forward maybe half a century.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I spent 1972 at a US Army base in rural South Korea. Quite a different country then to what it is now. My day-to-day life was not like that of the locals, of course, but I saw a lot of poverty and people just trying to get by. Sanitation, in particular, was dramatically different from what we would expect.
    My year in the ROK (Kunsan & Osan air bases) was in 1980-81 and I think it was improved compared to Treb's time there. If I am to generalize based on my experience, I consider the Korea people to be friendly and hardworking folks and back then, they worked very hard for not a lot in my estimation, most especially in the more rural areas. I'm told that the '88 Olympics changed things a great deal and that export-driven industries really took off in the following years. During my time there, I noted that Hyundai automobiles were so popular, I thought of them as the Fords of their country. They were essentially unheard of in the US at the time but I predicted...to no one really, other than myself...that they would establish a market presence in later years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    My bold. I am only one generation removed from such an environment right here in the USA, specifically in rural Arkansas during the Great Depression. About 1931 my mother and her family moved in with her dad's parents on their farm to have plenty to eat after her dad's oil drilling business in west Texas had dried up. When they arrived the farm had no electricity or running water. It was mostly subsistence farming, with four cows for milk and calves that became beef, two mules for pulling the plow and the harvester, and lots of chickens. The neighbors were in similar work, and it was largely a barter economy. Mom and her two sisters were doing woman-sized chores as little girls, and their brother helped their grandfather in milking the cows by hand, starting about age 9. Fortunately there was 20th century medical care not too far away, and her parents were both college educated and able to earn some cash as schoolteachers while being a huge help on the farm. They introduced the farmers to improved crop rotation and soil conservation practices, and in about six years brought that little hamlet fast forward maybe half a century.
    I am the same in that my father had a very tough early life in what would be developing country conditions these days. He was born in the Eastern Golfields of Western Australia in 1904. His father was a prospector who never found much gold. Their house was made of a rough sawn timber covered with hessian which was whitewashed. The floors were sand which was damped and packed down. The roof was corrugated iron. Most of the town buildings were designed to be torn down and moved to the next strike.

    From about 7 or 8 years old my father earned extra money by trapping rabbits and selling them to miners for fresh meat. Most food had to be brought In from the coast - about 600 km away and he remembered seeing camel and bullocks trains with dry and canned supplies going from town to town. The only way to keep meat etc cold was by keeping it in a box or cage covered with wet fabric and relying on evaporative cooling. Most drinking water had to be bought from wood fired distillation plants at a fairly expensive rate per gallon. At about 12 years old he made some more extra money by chipping rust off the inside of the firetubes. After that age he became too big to fit inside them.

    In common with most populations like this access to medical care was a big problem. My grandmother died in chilbirth as she was about a days horse and cart ride to the nearest hospital. After that my grandfather deserted his family. My father then started full time work at 14 years old - collecting sandalwood.
    Last edited by ozduck; 2018-Sep-26 at 05:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    My bold. I am only one generation removed from such an environment right here in the USA, specifically in rural Arkansas during the Great Depression. About 1931 my mother and her family moved in with her dad's parents on their farm to have plenty to eat after her dad's oil drilling business in west Texas had dried up. When they arrived the farm had no electricity or running water. It was mostly subsistence farming, with four cows for milk and calves that became beef, two mules for pulling the plow and the harvester, and lots of chickens. The neighbors were in similar work, and it was largely a barter economy. Mom and her two sisters were doing woman-sized chores as little girls, and their brother helped their grandfather in milking the cows by hand, starting about age 9. Fortunately there was 20th century medical care not too far away, and her parents were both college educated and able to earn some cash as schoolteachers while being a huge help on the farm. They introduced the farmers to improved crop rotation and soil conservation practices, and in about six years brought that little hamlet fast forward maybe half a century.
    Let me elaborate a bit and point out that this environment was not nearly as primitive as most of rural Africa was before the latter part of the 20th century. They had a Model A Ford which they kept running with parts culled from the remains of two others, and they had a radio which ran on batteries purchased at Fort Smith, about 20 miles away. That radio, along with a daily newspaper, kept them informed on world events, especially at night when it could receive clear-channel KMOX from St. Louis, 300 miles away. When Mom started high school in 1935 there was a school bus to take her the 17 miles to the county high school.

    Fast forward about 15 years. One of Mom's sisters and her husband went to a rural tribal nation in French West Africa as missionaries. When they started in 1951 the natives were a preliterate subsistence farming society, with almost none of the modern appliances and conveniences we tend to take for granted. The mission project included setting the native language to an alphabet and teaching the natives to read and write in their language. By the time my aunt and uncle retired about 50 years later the natives were probably more advanced than were some of Mom's neighbors back in rural Arkansas, along with rural folks in many other places in the USA, at the beginning of the Great Depression.
    Last edited by Hornblower; 2018-Sep-27 at 12:22 AM. Reason: Fix sentence structure lapses

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