When a man or woman's possessions are this slim, and possessing a hoe for breaking up the soil gives one a better chance at finding employment, you know that things are rough.
China may have enough money to launch space missions, but her rural poor, and her migrant workers, have a long way to go.
With a statement like that, a reality check is important because great leaps forward have been made for the destitute in China.
By 2006, within 25 years, the number of Chinese subsisting on less than 1 USD a day had dropped from 64% of the population to 16% of the population.
(Statistics generated by the United Nations Development Programme [UNDP], a major branch on the United Nations tree.)
In warm bodies, that corresponds to over 400 million people who had been lifted out of abject poverty.
Of course it also means that there are over 212 million destitute Chinese still living on less than 1USD a day, if that percentage (16%) remained unchanged by 2009, with the new population estimates for 2009.
China won the 2006 Poverty Eradication Award from the UNDP for the considerable achievement of lifting over 400 million Chinese out of truly destitute poverty.
And yet, many factories are closing due to the current financial crisis.
Which means that many men, women, and younger people are now out of work.
And families in distant villages may go hungry, again, without the remittances from these migrant workers.
And owning a hoe might give you a better chance at finding a job. Even if you have to sacrifice and save to buy it.
Again, what does one do to fix things?