Wealth comes from listening to those who walk the paths of poverty
Letter to Friends around the World # 80

Javier is the parish priest of San Carlos Borromeo, a church located in Entrevías in Spain.  He is also a member of the “neighbourhood coordination.”  Living alongside the poor, he is convinced that with them we can change the world we live in.

I feel more and more that when there are serious crises, not just economic ones but also the one we are currently dealing with in Spain, there is more research going on about the “Other,” especially when that other is poor.  This may be very interesting and all, but in the end we don’t know how all this information, beyond the specific knowledge and programs of each researcher, will lift people out of poverty.

Some of us have the privilege to live among the poor.  I think that quite often the world of the poor is left bare for all to see.
Face to face with legal staff, social workers, volunteers and the priest, the poor are always telling their life story, whose journey would very often put us to shame if we were to express it publicly.  We, on the other hand, are able to speak of positive things – we’ve got to where we are thanks to a series of opportunities as well as familial, social, economic and cultural conditions.  However, if I were to wait for a revolution, it would come from the bottom up.  Thus it would seem to me that the wealth of our societies comes from listening to those who walk the paths of poverty.  They are the ones who should be telling us how they want to be, how they feel, how they see us. 
I encourage those at the university to promote doctoral dissertations about trying to find out how the poor perceive those who do research on them, or those who are alongside them.  Therefore I think that if a revolution is possible, it comes not only from being united with them, but also from them telling us what they want.

All of us have to fight our own battles, wherever we may be, but these battles must have global repercussions if this world is to move forward through change.