The Rent Collector

This was book club for October. I wanted to wait until after we met, just because we had the opportunity of having the author attend our meeting (so we ended up meeting in November). The story is not biographical, but it is based on real people - which is really how many books are written, right? Based on the author's experiences, etc.

It can be shocking to think of people who live at a dump. Their work is collecting trash and reselling it, the parts or the whole. Can you even imagine what life is like not knowing how to read? But is there anything wrong with that life if those living it are happy? They have a family. They have food - it may be living day to day, not knowing if you'll have enough for tomorrow, but it isn't so uncommon is it?

Having lived in a country where some of the people live in homes made of cardboard, with tins roofs and dirt floors - I didn't face a huge culture shock, because everyone lives differently. The people did not think they were missing out on anything, because they aren't. One problem with our western society is that we think everyone should live like us, should have a similar government (Really? How many of you are actually happy with how things work within our government???) Why not let people live as they've learned.  Western medicine isn't always the answer, as this book tells.  Yes, medicine is the answer many times. But I remember the look on a medical student's face I was dating when I'd mentioned I had a chiropractor appointment. It was almost a look of superiority, of mocking. Well, guess what? I still go to a chiropractor (different one, but same profession).  The reason I'd sought out the chiropractor at that time was because medical doctor's hadn't helped. One actually messed up and hurt me more - that was fun. Alternative medicine helped though.

Tangent over, back on topic. I love the story of hope, of gradual improvements that this story tells of - not an overhaul of society. And, I do not know that I'm permitted to speak of what the author shared with us, but he told of his experiences learning that you can't just expect immediate change and what one person thinks would be an ideal lifestyle, is not what another thinks ideal. 

A great story that encourages great conversation.

(ps - this book is thanks to the author's son's experience as told in the documentary, "River of Victory", which I am waiting from the library.)

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