My employment at Yeongchon started during finals week, so there's been a lot of half days lately. It's something of a tradition for the teachers to take one of the half days to head up to a local buddhist temple, Okcheonsa, to pray to Santa or something. I don't know. Along the way, we visited some of the students who live at the temple.
I knew that some of the students had parents who were unable to support them and had to live at the temple, so this wasn't a big surprise. Everywhere you go, there's always some families who are poorer than most; This is nothing new. However, I didn't realize that the temple has a full-on dormitory, and that over twenty students are forced to live at the temple. There are only 87 middle school students in the surrounding myeons (townships).
That means that almost a fourth of all students in the area have parents who are unable to care for them, and had to put them in something that equates to a orphanage. And that's just the number of students that are at the bottom rung; That doesn't include the number of students who live in borderline poverty, and with a sizable chunk of kids too poor to eat, it makes me wonder how well-off the "rich" kids are.
And not only that, but I know this isn't even the worst of it. Goseong isn't fantastic, but it's survivable. We have electricity, ocassional trash pick-up, and running water ( not potable, but whatev). There is even a few cows and we all know how picky those motherfuckers are (fuck you cows), so it must not be all bad.
I can't even imagine how much needless bitching I've done throughout my lifetime over not having enough money. Or how many people in America do the same shit and not even truly realize the extent of poverty in other places in the world. I wonder how the parents feel to hand their kids over to a monk until they're old enough to grow their own food.
Oh, I'm sorry, I should probably end this post on a happier note. I ate peanuts wrapped in peanut-shaped waffles the other day! How cool is that shit?