Education is the only antidote to poverty


Education is the only antidote to poverty  
In the above illustration – as usual, I have first outlined the drawing with pencils and then finished it with ink pens – I wanted to represent how culture helps you climb the ladder of life.  
“Still despite their circumstances, Morrie was taught to love and care. And to learn. Eva would accept nothing less than excellence in school, because she saw education as the only antidote to their poverty”. 
From the book “Tuesday with Morrie” – Mitch Albom 
In this passage the author is talking about the main character’s childhood and his stepmother. 
What a flashback. My mother didn’t use the same exact words but that’s exactly what she meant. She used to tell me and my siblings that we should study very hard because that was the only way to redeem ourselves from a miserable life. Very humbly she was always explaining to us that regardless of the job we would end up doing, we would be able to carry ourselves into the world with dignity and respect. 
With the years gone by, I can say that knowledge is the key to achieve freedom. Knowledge is something that no one will ever be able to take away from you.
Un pueble que no sabe leer ni escribir es un pueblo facil de enganar 
Ernesto Che-Guevara during the Cuban revolution was convinced that people who do not know how to read and write are easier to rule.  
Eva, in Albom’s book saw education as an antidote. 
My mother looked at it as a way to gain self confidence and respect from others.  
Through dedicating myself to studies and growing my level of culture I have freed myself from old misconceptions and limitations. I have elevated my spirit and expanded my mind trying to stay humble and to never fall into arrogance. 
Traveling has been a big part of this process of growth. It has helped me to learn how to understand, to embrace and to love different cultures. Just by taking a look at Europe itself, it offers such a large variety of people. Germans are nothing like the Italians, who are not like the French but they are similar to the Spaniards and the Portuguese. It’s a shame that I have never been into eastern Europe but in London I have had the honor to work and to deal with people from so many different countries. I remember the first time someone told me that they were from Latvia, thus I said “Wow great”. I had to go home and google it to see where it was.  
The first country I have visited outside Europe was Morocco in 2009. It was during the month of Ramadan. When people were inviting us to eat at their restaurant we used to say that we respected the Ramadan and that it wasn’t nice to eat in front of someone fasting from dawn to dusk. The level of appreciation for such a small gestures was astonishing. I was also in Egypt in 2012 and at one point that special month of the Muslim’s calendar started. When new tourists arrived at the resort, I used to explain to them how important it is for people of that religion and that as guests we should respect our hosts. These two experiences in these Arab countries expanded my vision vastly: first, by getting to know more in detail about the specific practice then secondly, by getting to know a culture so stigmatized in the media and finding out it is actually a culture with a big heart. 
I traveled to Asia for the first time in 2016 where I went to Hong Kong. I now call it a Chinese version of London. In Hong Kong, I kind of experienced the racist feeling that they have towards white people. I have also been to Thailand in 2017. What a beautiful country, the land of Buddha. However, I call it the land of the smiley people. I wasn’t there for long, less than two weeks but it was enough to leave with a great impression. I went back to Asia in 2018 and traveled to Saigon. Got on a bus to cross the border and get to Cambodia then I flew back to Hanoi. I visited more places but what struck me the most was understanding the horror of the war in Vietnam and of the Khmer Rouge oppression, and to see how these people still find the courage to be gentle and positive. 
Through my education I have been able open my mind. Through traveling I have had the chance to experience different cultures. With an open mind I have been able to embrace so many different cultures and I take a little bit of each of them with me in my everyday life.

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