People talk about comfort zones. Poverty can be a comfort zone; a harsh and lonely one, but a zone where one feels at home, all the same.
Poverty is like a cardboard box turned upside down over its inhabitant and his or her environment. The person can move around, but poverty goes with her, always keeping him inside its reach. There are only lateral moves inside poverty. Maybe a tiny step up, but the box groans its way up with its inhabitants, threatening to crash back down on top of their heads. Miracles seem like the only escape method.
Tell a person inside the box of poverty to run away and start fresh somewhere without the restrictions that hold him or her back, and the person will likely hesitate, waver, and ultimately say no. What’s out there is unknown, and it could be much, much worse. The thing about poverty is that there is always worse, because there is the guy who wants the box you have, no matter how little it seems. What’s known here is secure, dependable — the comfort zone, and that’s comfortable. Taking that little bit of richness away is demanding the biggest risk of all. It may be sad and poor here in my box, but it’s damn scary out there.