Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Thing About Poverty

The taxi turned into the entrance and drove up the pothole-pitted dusty road. At the end of the driveway, near the entrance to the building, broken playground sat deserted to the left. To the right a dog could be found resting in a shady spot in the dirt, seeking escape from the uncomfortable combination of hot temperatures and high humidity. 

Also on the right near the dog and dirt and shade and weeds and garbage and dumpster could be found a busted up picnic table.  On what remained of the bench a person could be found sleeping on her side. As I've been around enough to know a homeless person when I see one, I looked away from the bench and focused my attention on the front door. 

The taxi driver honked the horn. 

The lady on the bench awoke and approached the vehicle. She appeared to be the one in charge. She took me inside the building and had me sit down at the large table where all the meals were served. Where holes could be found in the wall, where a sometimes-functional TV sat. Where I visited with the only other person on campus, the cook. That high school Spanish class paid off as I spoke with the cook about the pollo and plantains she was frying for the children. I was shown around the small, steamy, non-air conditioned rooms where up to six boys shared a single room. 

This lady, the one who I thought was a homeless person sleeping on a bench? She was the gal who runs the orphanage in Honduras. As I delivered the homemade pillowcases I had sewn for the kids, I wished I had made ones for the adults, too. The level of poverty I found at this orphanage is beyond description. 

The thing about poverty is that you really can't understand it, even when you see it. And just because someone looks to be homeless doesn't mean they don't bring value to others' lives. 

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