Reality Check to the Average North American

Thank You Note to a Child Laborer

Dear Bopha:

These are tough financial times, and working for $2 per day to help provide for your family is also really helping us here in the west. I thought I should write a quick note of thanks.

First some good news: Gas prices are lower. For a while it was getting scary. I was afraid I would have to sell my SUV! That would have been hard on us (it would have taken days to clean all the stuff out the back). Now that oil prices have gone down, your mom should be able to buy the ½ cup of cooking oil you’ve been doing without for so long. This means she will be able to cook a meal every once in a while for your family. Cheap oil is a great blessing to us all, isn’t it? You can cook, and I can continue driving at 15 miles per gallon.

I know the amount you’ve been getting paid has been dropping like a stone lately. This stupid credit crunch is freezing everyone up from buying things right now. I guess part of the problem is debt. I should know. I have four credit cards maxed to the limit. Plasma TVs are really expensive here – it’s unbelievable how much they want for a 50” screen! Since I didn’t want to put more on my credit cards, I was forced to take out a second mortgage on my home so I could buy the boat. This was unavoidable. Although we can only use it only a few months out of the year here in Wisconsin it was something my family felt we really could not do without. As you look at the attached photo I think you will see why. Isn’t it beautiful?

So anywho, all this borrowing seems to played a role in freezing money up in a serious way. Therefore, it is all the more important that you keep working twelve hour days for so little. We are all doing what we can. I realize the cost of rice has risen above your ability to pay. But let me tell you, my family and I are standing in solidarity with you. You will be glad to know that I have started buying the cheaper coffee to cut down on our grocery bill. This is sort of funny in a way because I’ve had to stop buying fairly traded stuff. The bright side is that this should help your friends, as I know their employers do not believe in fair trade.

The really scary part is that the money I had invested in emerging markets like Darfur is now only worth half of what it was last year at this time. Believe you me … you are fortunate your family has no savings.

So, I thought I’d write this little note encouraging you to keep working so I can get some good stuff for Christmas this year.

Gratefully,
Your Friend in America

P.S. Sorry to hear about your sister being sold into the brothel, but it’s wonderful that your mom can now get the medicine she needs. Once she starts working again and your dad stops drinking, your situation could really start looking up.

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