It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.
—Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Let the poor and hungry among you come and harvest the crops that spring up in your fields. Whatever is left over, the beasts may eat. Do the same thing with your vineyards and your olive groves.
My first introduction to real poverty occurred when traveling with a friend to spend a little fun in the sun at a resort in Dominican Republic. My friend, Nancy, had tried to prepare me. But, there’s no way to prepare oneself for what I was about to see.
We had barely driven away from the airport and onto the road when the gravity of poverty hit me full force.
Scattered along the roadside were makeshift shanties made of whatever materials folks could gather. Children hung about in various stages of undress. Dirty. Big-eyed. And no doubt hungry.
As we continued our journey we passed beautifully manicured lawns that led to gated resorts. Palms trees waved. Coral-colored condo’s and high-rises peaked out above the palms. As well as snippets of white, sandy beaches and the sparkling, blue ocean as wide as the eye can see.
I tried to absorb the dichotomy. Desperate poverty just outside the gates of incredible wealth.
When we arrived at our destination, Nancy took me on a tour of our new abode’s beautiful grounds. There were tropical flowers like the bright blue Isabel Segunda, the crazy-looking Bird of Paradise, and flaming red Delonix regia, better known as Flamboyants, that I had seen only in magazines. Not to mention pink Bougainvillea’s and bright orange Penta’s. It was breathtaking.
But, I was haunted.