In the village we were in last week, all the houses are made of tin, with dirt floors. But at the top of the hill near a house we laid a cement floor in, there's this big, fancy house, where some big, douchey government official lives. We were told he put it there as a big "f you" to the people of Don Bosco. In our nightly reflection time, one of my friends shared that he had come to recognize the smell of poverty - something pervasive and undeniable that he associated with unwashed people, rotting garbage, and neglect. The thing about a smell, he said, is that you can't ignore it. And he, like the rest of us, was unable to understand how that government official could ignore that smell, and go on living in his fancy house.
I spent a week in the DR and accomplished nothing. For every cement floor we laid there are 500 more that need to be built. The kids I cuddled were smiling while we were there, but after we left and the cries of "Americana!" vanished into the distance, they went back to the way they are: ignored by their parents and deprived of the love and physical affection that they so desperately need.
I did NOTHING. Nothing changed. No one was saved. If I was changed, it'll fade before too long, like a dream upon waking.
I've never been so close to dropping out of school.