A Complex Reality

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Poverty is always a multifaceted story. Whether you are in Nuevo Renacer of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, or Regent Park in Toronto, Ontario, the families, cultures, and histories of the people will always have unique challenges, yet share relatable experiences and perspectives that bring to light the complex reality of living in poverty. 
As I have been within the community of Nuevo Renacer for the last three days, I have seen firsthand the challenges that mothers, fathers, young children, and community members face when trying to access health care, education, adequate shelter, jobs, and ultimately a sustainable future. All of which has been hard. 
Where a mother’s fears of the water from the seasonal rain entering forcefully through the holes in her roof to flood her home, wetting mattresses, creating mold, and forcing evacuation; to the child who waits eagerly to eat their one small meal their family can provide for the day, the challenges seem to diminish all hope for a brighter future. Yet, as I spend more time here, I learn that there are many assets that add to the dynamic story of this particular community. 
Although small and seemingly tucked away, there is a Girls Club and a Boys Club that is run by the community to engage youth in life transforming activities. Then there is the cosmetology program that provides a certificate to students who graduate, enabling them to work in beauty salons located in the larger community. In spite of the heavy presence of litter and garbage brought in by the polluted river nearby, an older man works during the week to collect recyclable items for a modest pay, a profession that not only enhances his life but also the wellbeing of the community. 
Poverty can never be a story told from only one angle. It is one that requires a keen eye and on-going reflection. While Nuevo Renacer’s story may be unique in and of itself, it is not severed from the very real impact that poverty is having on families all around the world- even in our own backyards. 
As I journey with amazing community members this week, and build a house that will radically transform the lives of an extraordinary family, I am reminded that social justice is a commitment that we must make no matter where we are, to shape the story of a global movement towards ending poverty. 
Natasha – LiveDifferent Volunteer – World Vision Leadership Trip, Dominican Republic, 2015

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 20th, 2015