We often take for granted how easy we have it in the developed world. We have fairly easy access to clean drinking water, suitable healthcare, potential education, and sufficient food. Unfortunately, for those living in the developing world, poverty directly effects these aspects of life. Let’s look at education for example. In Canada the majority of us easily make it through high school and then move right into post secondary often without a problem. We may even spend a year or two doing random courses just trying to figure out what we want to do. Very commonly people do not respect their education and just throw it out the window like it means nothing. Here, where poverty exists, education is one of the things that everyone strives for as it can entitle them to a career with an income that can bring them right out of poverty. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to do this because it costs too much or people have too many responsibilities at home to go to school. Many people on our team, including myself are stumped because we cannot figure out the answer to the following: why must these people, who are very intelligent and appreciate learning, have to be the ones who cannot further their education? I hope that if we continue to do what we are doing and more people chose to join wit us, then the chances of furthering education will rise for the communities we work in.
Today, I was able to walk through the partially finished house with the mother of the family we are building it for. I asked her to explain to me how she envisioned the house to look at the end. She explained where each person would sleep, the paint colours she will use, where she would cook, and where the family would eat. Following this, we asked her if she would place any photos around the house. She responded by saying, “I would, but I cannot because I do not have any pictures.” After hearing this I instantly knew something we could do on house dedication day! We will bring the family pictures which we will take of the family and of us with the family. They can then place them around the house; I believe the mother will be very happy with this.
At debriefing we discussed the effect poverty can have and shared anything that people had on their minds. This triggered a few tears for some people as the reality of the poor health care quality that is available here set in. To end it on a positive note, Joy and I went to Francisco, Frankabello, and Frankelly’s house to get them because they did not come to the school as usual. When we got to the house we found the three of them boiling milk over a mini-fire. The reason they had not come to the school was because they were helping their family: milking the cow, weeding the yard, and preparing the milk. Seeing these children doing this really opened my eyes, because these children are 6, 7, and 10 years old and they are completely content with doing what they were doing. It is just amazing. There is a lot I have learned from these boys and the other children, and there is still so much more left to learn. I have been invited to return to the three boys house to help milk the cow…now this is VERY different for me; Live Different is definitely the motto I have chosen to follow.
Reggie - Live Different Hero Holiday Intern, Dominican Republic 2012