Can you even imagine walking to work on a long road with hundreds of beat-up cars, tap-taps, and trucks speeding past you? As you look down at your black suit coat and see that it is no longer black, but is now grey. You have been attacked by a dust storm created by the vehicles on the road. The dust on your hands and face began to mix with the sweat from the beating sun above you. The dirt drips down your face, and your palms are wet with a clay like sweat. Your mouth feels dry and foamy as you realize you are extremely thirsty and the dry heat around you is not making things any better. You haven't had anything to drink for a day, but continue on...
Can you even imagine having to decide every day if you should spend 40 cents on a bucket of clean water when your budget is only $1/ day? (Water costs 40 cents for 5 gallons of water, and most people live on less than a $1 per day!) Do you go one day without water so you can afford enough food for the family? Do you go without water so that you can afford to send your child to school (school is not free here. There is no public school system like in the U.S.)? How are you ever going to afford to have surgery for your infant with an infect hernia, or afford your oldest child's visit to the dentist for his cavity? How are you ever going to have enough money to purchase toothpaste, clothes, or new shoes. There never seems to be relief or aid to get even the basic necessities for life.
Can you even imagine playing jump rope with an old beat-up string that is covered with dirt? You find a safety pin or even a nail in a pile of garbage near your house, and you flatten it out to make a knitting needle. You will use this to knit a new blanket once you are able to afford some yarn. Throughout your adventure you find a long string and a plastic wrapper. You tie the end of the string tightly to a hole ripped through the plastic wrap and let the wind sweep your new kite off the ground. Surprisingly, the kite flies with such grace through the big blue sky above you.
Can you even imagine living in a tent city that has very little lights and your neighbor's tent is literally a foot across the alley? You have been living in the tent for over a year and a half and finally have a designated areas for the bathroom and showers (because in the beginning, these were simply your backyard).
Can you even imagine having to go days without a shower or, if your lucky, taking a bath in a stream filled with dirty water and garbage?
These are just some of the many things my eyes have witnessed over the past few days. While my eyes have seen such tragedy and devastation, I am still awe struck by these people. Two buddies in Cite Soleil giving each other a "man" hug with big grins on their faces. Kids chanting "God is so Good" in the mist of the poorest and most dangerous city in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. A grown man saving his friend part of his snack even though he may not have another bite to eat that day. A courtyard filled with children chanting prayers even though they are orphans that lost their parents or were dropped off simply because their family couldn't afford to care for them.
..It simply amazes me to find such love for each other and for God in a place were everyone is simply just trying to survive.