Social Insight

I am totally fascinated by all aspect of life in the tropics. As a lifestyle voyeur, I am always eager to see how the other side lives.

One of the negative aspects of the social conditions in this tropical country, is that approximately 75% of the households consist of a single parent, a mother and her children. Absentee fathers are the rule rather than the exception, and they do not support the children they father. Consequently the child rearing is done by an economically disadvantaged single mother.

To gain insight what this means in real, practical terms, the picture above is a shopping list. The front of the list is a school assignment by a very young child -- a girl named Donesha. The obverse has a shopping list. The list is very revealing, as it offers a glimpse of the diet of most of the regular people here.

The list is as follows:

  1. Tuna
  2. Cornbeef
  3. Sugar
  4. Mouthwash
  5. Hot dog
  6. Bread
  7. Tissue
  8. Mackeral
  9. Potato
  10. Onion
  11. Spaghetti
  12. Biscuit
  13. Sour
  14. Fabric Softener
  15. Celery
  16. Tomato
  17. Liquid Tide

Notice that most of the protein is canned or processed and inexpensive. There is corn beef, tuna, mackeral and hotdogs. Carbohydrates such as spaghetti, bread, biscuits are omnipresent in the local diet.

The tomatoes, onion, celery and sour (bottled lemon juice and hot peppers) are used to cook a fish dish.

The rest of the items deal with washing or hygiene --mouth wash, toilet tissue, fabric softener and detergent.

All in all, it is a pretty sparse shopping list devoid of any serious fruits, vegetables or high grade protein.

This shopping list is typical of what I see in the grocery carts around the island.

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