Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Poverty in Paradise

It's easy to leave the cares of this world behind when you are on vacation; especially when you are on vacation in a tropical paradise. But what happens when your tropical paradise is constantly bumping shoulders with 3rd world poverty? Then, what as a believer are you to think or to feel. As we spent the past week in St. Lucia, a lush island surrounded by mountains, beautiful foliage, and beautiful people, I found myself saying, "Oh my gosh, look at that shack built into the hill; or they have no running water here." Frankly, I found myself looking at the surrounding poverty through new eyes. Last week was my first real encounter with such incredible poverty. This is how these people live I asked?
I cried a lot. I wanted to know how the locals walked up and down mountain roads every single day of their lives to catch a ride to work. Or, how women carried such heavy baskets of fruits and vegetables on their heads. Or, how a man who was missing his left leg, pushed himself up the mountain road while in a wheelchair. He was old, or rather he looked old and worn out when I saw him. He had no shoes on his feet and very little clothing on his body. And no one, including my husband and I stopped to give him a ride.
Every day locals tried to sell us their goods, be it necklaces, fruit, molasses, or baskets woven out of palm fronds. Some days we said yes and listened to their stories. Other times we politely said, "No thank you." But for most, selling wares such as these was the bane of their existence. We did see people with higher paying jobs, but mostly we saw and experienced locals wanting to earn their living by providing a simple service for you. For $2 American dollars I will be your tour guide they'd say. Or I will find you a taxi. Or a parking space.
Real life collides with tropical paradise. Too often in America, only the homeless fit our comfortable definition of the poor. Or those who can only afford a single-wide trailer on a tiny piece of land. My eyes have been opened and I am still seeing the man in his wheelchair, slowly pushing himself up the side of a mountain in paradise. More thoughts to come.

1 comment:

Jessica Eustace said...

Hi! I just happened to come across your blog! I also live in Greenwood! Glad to have found a blog from a local! Hope you have a great day!
Here is a link to mine!
Hated on the Playground