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"Mexican Drug Cartels" How do cartels control Mexico and dominate drug trafficking? http://uisio.com/?p=919  #Mexico 

For the sake of keeping all family members straight, please allow me to introduce them:
- Anna Goldhardt - 44, daugher of the couple that came to me for help
- Micha Bruecke - mid 40's, common law husband of Anna
- Jezibel Weiss - daughter, 19, of Anna and Micha, unemployed and homeless
- Mika Bruecke, son, 17, of Anna and Micha.
- Daniel Weiss - early 20's, husband of Jezibel

In the beginning, it was relatively easy.  The focus was the first set of conditions, and who in the family wanted to be a part of the conditions.  

The conditions were as follows:
1.  I will not be held responsible, in any way, of your past, present, or future debt / financial situation.  My role is that of a financial advisor; I do not assume or accept any responsibility of your past or future debt.
2.  I will not send any cash.
3.  I will remain fair and neutral.  When support is given, I will document the amount.  You can request this report at any time.
4.  Any financial support is expected to be paid back at the time your financial situation allows you to do this.  This financial support will accumulate a zero percent per year interest rate.
5.  This Arrangement demands full transparency and full disclosure.  Requests of information must be answered truthfully and openly.
6.  For Anna only:  choice to bring Micha, Mika, Jezibel or their legal spouses (Daniel) into this Arrangement at any time.  Choosing to do so requires for them to agree to all of the Conditions of Arrangement.
7.  You can terminate this arrangement at any time.  Upon termination, in the event that financial support has been given but not paid back, this debt will remain with you at no interest until the time when you can pay this back.
8.  Failure to adhere to any of the Conditions of Arrangement, whether you or anyone you bring into this Arrangement, will result in the termination of the Arrangement.  There are no second chances.
9.  Additional Conditions of Arrangement will be added.

In the coming 2 weeks, I basically tried to consult Anna to help her to make her final decision on the people that would be a part of the conditions.  She definitely waffeled a few times.

At first, she wanted Micha and Mika to be involved.  While it would be nice if Micha to be involved since he had (in theory) a job and salary, it seemed very unlikely that he would share (he had a very firm policy of 'what's mine is mine...and what's yours is mine).  Anna's son, while still in school (also in theory), would not be able to add much to the family income.

Since both men liked to smoke pot, they were not exactly the types to accept the conditions.

Despite being homeless, both Jezibel and Daniel were outsiders:  Micha refused to allow Daniel and Jezibel into the apartment since Daniel was a different race than Jezibel (and Micha).  On the other side, Daniel actually had a job and seemed to have some things under control, considering the circumstances.

I also tried to strengthen Anna so that she could make the 'right' decision:  I reminded her that, regardless of her decision, I would help her as long as she lived up to the conditions.

Perhaps it was just luck, perhaps it was a 'down and out' argument that Micha and Anna had shortly thereafter, but in hindsight, I believe that this 'safety net' was something that someone other than Micha finally offered to her.

While Micha was not an ideal partner - with his mental illnesses and pot smoking hobby, not to mention his verbal and physical abuse - he was at least there for Anna.

In hindsight, this is the first step to coming out of the Cycle of Poverty:  you have to get a new safety net so that you can begin to free yourself from your chain so that you can finally have the chance to make the right decisions.

Anna finally sent to me her final decision:  Micha and Mika were out.  Jezibel and Daniel were in.

While it was clear to me that Micha would never live up to the conditions, I thought it was brave for Anna to actually go against her common law husband.  Most disappointing was Mika's decision:  he didn't want my help and he wasn't willing to quit smoking (tobacco and pot) -> a look into the next set of conditions.

As irony would allow, Jezibel and Daniel were in.  While Jez and Daniel were homeless, Anna would let them sleep on the porch (in Denver it is cold in winter).  Micha would neither tolerate this nor Anna's permission to let them come in and shower; Mika ratted on Jez and Daniel multiple times.

While I never met Daniel, I admired the fact that he was homeless, yet had a job.  More confusing was Jez' lack of motivation to get a job.

Before the list of acceptees were completed, there was not much for me to do...but to listen and consult...all this despite almost daily reminders that they (at this time, Anna, Micha, and Mika were living together) were short for rent.

I tried to keep my emotions out of the game:  no support until the conditions are agreed upon.

The game finally changed when Anna gave me her final list of acceptees:  Anna, Jez, and Daniel.  Micha and Mika were out.

Now...the work was to begin.

About 3 months, I was approached by a family that I knew through my network of friends and family.  Over the next week, they explained their situation for which they had been struggling with for the better part of two and a half decades:  their daughter had ran away from home while in high school and had drifted closer and closer to poverty.

Now a middle aged woman on the brink of homelessness with two teenage children of her own as well as an abusive, common law husband, a heap of debt, and bad credit, her family was willing to try 'one last time' to help her.

How this family came to me, for them to tell me their story as well as for them to ask me for their help is a story in and of itself, which is at this point in time less relevant considering the dire situation of the family in need.

I outlined to the requesting family how my wife and I would act to try to bring financial and emotional stability to their daughter and her family.  In addition, I outlined the premise of the Conditions that I would require of their daughter before my wife and I began to support.

While my wife and I have a very strong set of financial values, living well below our means, with a firm respect for money, understanding the difference between want and need, we have no formal training in such real life situations...real life poverty in America.

After the basic Conditions were agreed, they communicated to their daughter that I would be the one and only source of any request for help and that I was ready, willing, and able to help her out of her situation.

It took another 2 1/2 months before their daughter finally approached me, requesting my help.  She did this only after exhausing all avenues for support and after her common law husband went through another bout of extense verbal abuse, including similar verbal abuse from her teenaged son.

What ensued is a case study in the immense gravity of the cycle of poverty in America.  Despite the storied and fabeled American Dream, once you get caught in the pull of this downward spiral, it is virtually impossible to get yourself out of it.  Even with strong financial backing, there is tremendous resistance even for those trying to help.

This resistance, the gravitational pull of poverty, will be the subject of these next posts.  

Thank you for reading.
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