The Caribbean island of Hispaniola is made up of two separate countries. The Dominican Republic makes up two-
Before a fact based description, let me give you a visual description. Yes, these two countries are located in the Caribbean where many people vacation. Yes, both islands have tourist hubs in certain areas. But the largest majority of the people live in extreme poverty in tents or ramshackle huts with dirt floors and no running water or bathroom facilities. There are basically no good hygiene practices and disease and illness are rampant. Over 7,000 people recently died from a cholera outbreak from infected water in Haiti. HIV and AIDS are rampant as are malaria and dengue fever, malnutrition, teenage pregnancies among the many other problems and illnesses associated with extreme poverty.
Try to visualize a family of 7-
Even worse, when there is a major storm or a hurricane, the residents refuse to leave their huts because they fear thieves will pillage their houses. Families remain huddled in the wet muddy shack and wait while risking the storm killing them or destroying their home.
The people who work the sugarcane fields live in outlying areas known as bateyes. These villages are basically shacks made of tin and rotten wood, dirt floors with no plumbing facilities. Hence the conditions are very unsanitary, unsafe, and cramped and very hot due the sweltering heat.
The conditions in Haiti are even worse. Considered to be the poorest country in the Western hemisphere over one million of its 8 million residents still live in tents made of plastic tarps in camps that are crowded, dangerous and deplorable. Many of the people make less than one dollar per day. Since the earthquake in 2010, billions of dollars in aid have poured into the country and it is difficult to see tangible results due to what many claim are from rampant corruption
Both countries have citizens that are doing very well economically but the largest majority of citizens live in horrific substandard conditions. Many of the relief effort seem to be window dressing that is not doing anything to help the people that are the most in need. For example, a lot of media attention was given to a large clothing plant in Haitis north shore that will employ upwards of 40,000 people. At first glance this sounds like a huge answer to the poverty issue. However, upon closer examination one learns that the average workers will receive less than $5 per day for and eight-
The Dominican Republic and Haiti have the lowest investment in education within Latin America. Although improvements are being made concerning the education system, these improvements will not be enough without sufficient funds, school supplies, extracurricular activities, teacher/parent training and transportation to and from schools. As for the rural areas, which make up the largest areas of both countries, there are little or no school systems in place. Part of the education gap is the lack of support by many parents to encourage their childrens education due to a lack of education on the parents part. Many parents choose for their children to work at a very young age to earn an income to help the family. While sending the children to work may provide short-
One may think how does something like this happen? It is very simple when there is such rampant poverty, lack of housing and education and little or no governmental assistance. All of the children are amazingly resilient and pitch in to help with the cleaning, cooking and family duties.
I cant even look at those pictures is a common response when many people see the photos of the poverty. Another common statement is how did they get like that and why doesnt someone help them.They got in the desperate conditions for a host of reasons but none of them chose this path for their children. It is but for the grace of God each of us could be in the exact same place. It is easy to assume that these conditions would not happen in America but without a strong government, jobs, money and a stable education and food system these conditions could exist anywhere.
Many people ask, “Why doesn’t someone help them?” The real question that needs to be asked by most people is “why am I not helping them?”