What does poverty look like?

There is severe poverty in Haiti. I was reflecting on the poverty I saw there, and trying to capture what that poverty “looks like”.

Some of the poverty is more obvious. I saw children with stunted growth due to malnutrition. I saw children carrying water long distances. I heard from my sponsored child that it is a one hour walk each day to school for him. I saw children too poor to be fully clothed. I saw damaged homes, still reflecting the ravages of earthquakes and tropical storms.

Other poverty is less obvious to the eye. I was told that before World Vision started community development in the central plateau, many families could not feed all of their family members each day. Can you imagine having to decide “Who will eat today?”. As a parent, I cannot imagine how this would feel, and my mind and heart rebel at even trying to imagine it.

I remember being in Haiti just after the earthquake hit. We did not fully realizing the scope of the disaster at the time. Looking back, I realize that we were sub-consciously waiting for help to arrive, as we might expect after an emergency in Canada. It was only later that we came to realize that in Haiti, there is no help to come. As this sank in, I remember how vulnerable I felt. There I was in a foreign country, on the street, with no help on the way. Perhaps this vulnerability, with no social support nets, is but a small taste of what poverty “looks like”?

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