'' Volunteer Reflections on Poverty – International Samaritan

Volunteer Reflections on Poverty

Guided Blog Reflection: What’s the cause of poverty? How do you see poverty after your experience in Honduras?

Reflection I
Matt Grabowski
Class of 2012 U of D Jesuit High School

Many people believe that the cause of poverty is a lack of hard work or motivation on the part of those in need. Throughout this trip I have been able to see that this is not the case. All of the people in the garbage dump community of San Pedro Sula, Honduras work hard everyday in order to get by. Many major factors can lead to poverty. In the poverty that we have seen, the major cause is misfortune that led to the displacement of many people. This displacement forced the people to restart their lives with nothing. The government is unable to step in to solve the problem because the government itself is in need of help. Because of this trip I am able to see that poverty is not caused by a persons lack of effort but because of factors out of the control of the people. No one wants to see poverty to this extent, but it has led me to a deeper understanding of what must be done. Hopefully groups of volunteers like ours can continue to work with those committed to removing themselves from the cycle of poverty and begin to see lasting results.

Reflection II
Carson McGuire
Class of 2012 U of D Jesuit High School

Before my arrival in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, my personal views of poverty were in my mind, but not in my heart. From the moment I stepped foot in the slums of San Pedro Sula, I realized I have been living in a great illusion for the past 17 years. Coming from Detroit, my U of D mission trip companions and I thought we had witnessed poverty. Yes, Detroit is a rough, impoverished place. It’s a city of dire needs that have not been met in years. San Pedro Sula, on the other hand, is a city that has dire needs that have never been satisfied in its entire existence.

Most poor families in the United States have some access to basic services such as water and lights. The same family in San Pedro Sula lives in a shack made of tin roofing with holes, a hard dirt floor, and one or two rooms that house, on average, four children. This family dedicates one day of the week alone to raise the money for water. In San Pedro Sula, if you want to walk down the street you need to hike up an incline with bumps, holes, animals, and raw sewage littering the streets.

The cause of poverty is not the work ethic or the amount of money. It is the environment. The environment dictates the questions that the impoverished need to answer daily. Is it a fight for making it out of the current conditions or is it a fight for my day to day survival?

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