Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A New Perspective on Life

Posted on behalf of Dayanara Reyes

Last Friday I was on my way home from work – in the rain – thinking about all I had experienced during the week. I was reflecting on the people here in the Dominican Republic who have jobs that are hard but pay little. I thought about the sicknesses, malnutrition, lack of basic and personal necessities…and how, in spite of all this, these people remain optimistic, with a desire to better themselves and a hope for change.

All of this came to mind after my bosses asked me to talk about my childhood and how my life has changed since I began my duties, as part of a possible feature for Children International, the organization I work for. Hmmmm…that question demanded an answer, but it was not a simple answer. It was a deep reflection…. God has given me the opportunity to have and experience great things; I’m fortunate to have food, clothing, a good education, a good salary for the work I do and – even better – the ability to help and create in others a consciousness of those who have not been as fortunate as I have.

I’ve often received emails with pictures of people doing special types of work and children who live in extreme poverty; these are intended to cause people to appreciate the things they have in life. Allow me to show you a few pictures that I took myself, and let me share with you the experiences I had the privilege of having last week – experiences that cause you to ask yourself some tough questions.

You’ve probably heard on a number of occasions (as I had) about the “divers” (people who work in garbage dumps); they have no other way to make a living…no other choice. They work without gloves, under terrible conditions and exposed to diseases. I show you these pictures as just a few examples of the many people I saw when we visited the city dump last week. These people scrounge around in the trash for materials they can sell to recyclers – and sometimes they search for food for their families.

I’ve learned a lot since coming to work for Children International. I’ve visited areas of my own city that I never even knew existed. I’ve seen the raw ugliness of poverty, walked down parasite-infested streets where little children run barefoot, listened to crippled children talk about their dreams…and this has created in me a determination to do everything within my power to bring about change.

Dayanara is the communications coordinator for our agency in Santiago. She accompanied the Children International team that was in the Dominican Republic last week. These pictures were taken on the visit to the dump that Sarah wrote about in her post last Wednesday, Down in the Dump.

1 comment:

evergreen3 said...

Are there other jobs that some of the divers could obtain? What is the job market like in Santiago or other areas? I would be willing to help provide for job training to help improve their incomes. Or, if jobs are scarce, will help provide gloves, boots, hats, masks to help protect them from disease, if someone from Children International could provide a list of needs and costs. Hopefully others who read this blog would join me.