It’s different now. I know their names.
Nakiesha, Wedeline, Kyria – and the list of impoverished children I now know goes on.
In July of 2011, I am a volunteer at a Bible Camp near those very roads. As the Bahamian heat beats down, I thank God ten year old Kyria didn’t pierce her foot on a nearby shattered bottle. Yet as I look back down, I realize glass is everywhere and there is no way I can gather it all up. Kyria then begins to climb a pile of trash to pick fruit from a tall tree growing atop it. As I watch her, toddlers swarm around me with the question “I can go on ya back?” in their Creole accents. I pick up one each hip and begin to cry at the realization that their poverty is far from over. They are three year olds who are being taught ambivalence to their own squalor by parents who were raised the same way. I soon realize that the tropical trip I spent a year working to pay for would break my heart, as well as inspire me to spread the word about this injustice. On the trip I smelled poverty, held its hand, kissed its little faces, and cried as its youth told me stories of rape and abuse much too old for its age.
I realized that the cycle of poverty takes generations to break and millions of volunteers willing to sacrifice their comfortable lives for 110 degree heat, tarantulas, piggy back rides, and the vision of a better life for children they don’t even know. As I returned home, I became conscious of the ambivalence of so many people to the things I had seen, and it caused me to want to become a voice for those who have none. I am now willing to seek out those in need, and help them in any way possible because I want to do good in the world.