even abject poverty is really relative (and contextual)

Students I took on a study abroad seminar spent several days with pavement dwellers in Bombay before coming to Soweto Township in Johannesburg. They were amazed at the good conditions of the apartheid-period workers’ housing – disappointing our hosts, who expected they would be appalled. Several men shared a room, and there was only one bathroom and one kitchen per floor, as compared to living on a sidewalk against a stone wall. In a parallel situation, when Brazilian youth from the favela were invited to stay in the South Bronx with the Ghetto Film School students, they thought they were living in luxury – until they were told they were in one of the worst "slums" in New York. (from Janice Perlman, Favela, p398)

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