This is something that has been on my mind since I got back from Haiti. It has been said that you don't know poverty until you see Haiti. I agree. I took a lot of pictures while I was there, but there were some things that I saw that I just couldn't bring myself to photograph. It felt inhumane. One of those things was a little child playing in the road with nothing but a small t-shirt on. No shoes. No pants. Not even underwear.
On our trip home, my group and I spent one night in Fort Lauderdale before we made it back to St. Louis. It was hard to adjust. What a difference from Haiti to home. That night we went to Old Navy and we ate dinner at TGIFriday's. I felt overwhelmed and guilty about the luxuries that we have as Americans. I mean, the airport in Florida was fancier than the hospital in Haiti.
I had seen poverty before in Mexico when I was a college student. But I was a broke student then. My worldly possessions fit into a small dorm room. I didn't even have my own car. Now I have a husband, a house, two cars, two dogs, and a good job. The average Haitian lives off less than $2 a day. What we spend on cable TV could feed a Haitian family for at least a month. I have certainly thought more carefully about what I spend my money on, but we still have cable for now.
My point is if you were born in America, you are wealthy in comparison to much of the rest of the world. Yes, you may lives in an older house or have a run down car, but I can bet you are not living on dirt floors with no shoes. . .like people in Haiti. There is a price that we pay for the lifestyles we have here in the states. It seems that the more we have, the more we want. A bigger house, a pool, a new car, a bigger TV, another pair of shoes. On and on. After visiting a developing country, I think that the less you have, the easier it is to be content and thankful for the things that you do have.
One very easy way you can help people in developing countries is through child sponsorship. You don't even have to leave your house. You set up an account online. You can have the money automatically drafted from your checking account or credit card each month. Then all you need to do is write to your child from time to time. As you probably know, we recently signed up to sponsor a young boy in Ethiopia through Compassion International. We got our first letter from him a few days ago. He told us that his favorite holiday is Christmas and that he has a cow. He said he wants to be a doctor when he grows up and he thanked us for sponsoring him. I was touched.