We packed some snacks, had the Kool-Aid mix, and even brought some balloons. We were visiting an orphanage in Haiti that day. We had driven 20 minutes out of town to the middle of nowhere and arrived at a small dirt path veering away from the main road. We would have missed the turn off if it wasn’t for a broken and rusted sign. As we drove along the road, we saw two wooden posts with rusted sheets of metal leaning against them — the type of metal you would see in a junk yard, the kind that moms would tell their children not to touch because it was too dirty. Two kids no older than 12 came out, pulled apart the metal sheets, and opened the gate for us.
We expected to see a building with dorms, possibly a play area. But in the place where walls should have been, there was a wooden shack with holes and pieces of tin for a roof — no bigger than 5 feet wide and 10 feet long. This shack served as the girls’ sleeping quarters. The boys normally slept in a similar shed next to it. But the shed was needed to store tools, to keep them protected from the recent rains. So the boys slept under a tarp, which had unfortunately blown down the night before.
As we exited the van, we saw a group of kids from 3 years old to teenager. They stood and stared at us, and we stood frozen for a moment, trying to take in the situation. We brought them Kool-Aid, but there was nothing to make it in. We brought snacks, but they were used to eating only one meal per day. We gave them balloons, and yet they didn’t even have beds to sleep on. As we struggled to keep smiles on our faces and play with the kids, the thoughts of their desperate situation shook our composure.
Unfortunately, this story is neither unique nor original. The truth is that there are many people in the world that live on less than a dollar per day. Many kids are abandoned and forced to grow up quickly, and they never really have a childhood. While we enjoy our lives of excess, there are so many in need. There’s so much to be done, but where do we start?
The answer is just one. One day. One dollar. For one child. A dollar per day is all it takes to make all the difference for one child.