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Understanding Community


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Understanding Community

Question One

Willie Bodega had a complicated approach to community development. Many people considered him to have the Robin Hood type of community development. In his own view of community development, Bodega used to help the poor in whatever they needed. He provided homes for them, gave them money and food for their survival. In order to get money and food to give to the needy people, Bodega used to sell drugs to the useless people (Smith, 2011). This made Bodega look like a villain to many people. Additionally, Bodega used to give people on condition that they are loyal to him. Therefore, despite helping the needy people, Bodega had a dark side of selling drugs. In this case, his approach of community development could be described as performing criminal activities in the aim of developing the living standards of the poor people (Quinonez, 2000).

Similar to Bodega, Pablo Escobar had almost the same approach to community development. Escobar dedicated his life to helping the needy people at all times (Grajeles, 2007). To do this, he needed to earn money. In order to earn this money, Escobar decided to sell drugs and take part of the money to the people where he could be able to help. On the other hand, he was one of the biggest drug lords and murderers in Colombia (Grajeles, 2007). Escobar was being referred by the media and other people as a ruthless drug lord. On the other hand, he was one of the people who made strides in helping the needy. He believed that what he said had to be done. This meant that whatever he promised to do, he must accomplish. However, he was different from Bodega in that he did help the poor people so that they could offer him their loyalty (Grajeles, 2007).

The two cannot be considered as heroes to their societies. This is because the same people they were trying to help were also drug users. Offering people money and a roof on their head does not mean that the community has been developed. Their living conditions may have improved, but with the drugs on the streets, it destroyed the economy. Additionally, according to the ethical values a wrong for the purposes of doing does not make it right. Therefore, the two Bodega and Escobar, should be considered villains and not heroes

Question Two

The setting of the book is Spanish Harlem, in one of the most disinvested cities in America. However, some characters in the book have different investment strategies that will ensure they are out of the poor state of the economy. Additionally, some characters in the book are trying to improve the economy of the whole city of Spanish Harlem (Quinonez, 2000). One of the strategies was community development projects. Most of the characters are trying to educate their children so that they can get the knowledge to start their own business or to land themselves in the most prosperous careers. Other people are trying to open shops where they can sell anything so that they can remove themselves from poverty.

The most effective strategy these communities should use is education. This is because Spanish Harlem does not have any economic activity at all and the people who are living there are illiterate. Most of them do not finish school because they engage themselves in drugs (Wiegand, 2001). As a result, the communities will never grow. However, if they use the strategy of education they will end up improving the living standards by landing excellent jobs. Additionally, they will have the skills required to open up their businesses.

The community should try to take the approach of community programs for the young people. In this case, the young people will be educated on the effects of drugs, and they should be told the importance of going to school and finishing. Additionally, the parents should be urged to take their children to school. The government should be urged to provide free education to these people since they are poor and they cannot afford to pay most of their education. In this case, when they pay, there will be no reason for children not to go to school.


Grajeles, M. (2007). Pablo Escobar. Kean University. Retrieved from:

Quinonez, E. (2000). Bodega Dreams. New York, NY: Perma-Bound Books.

Smith, N. (2011). Summary and Analysis of Part II of Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quinonez. Article Myriad. Retrieved from:

Wiegand, C. (2001). Ernesto Quinonez: Bodega Dreams: Spanish Stories. Spike Magazine. Retrieved from:

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