I drive by in my car with tinted windows and full on AC singing to the music pulsing through my radio. I passively see what’s going on around me. A woman with three children, one on her back, the other on her side and holding the third’s hand. I see beggars on every corner, and somehow my heart’s not responsive. I am immune to the gaping poverty all around me. The buildings sing in a low hushed voice, singing so low as they sink into the ground, dirty water running through the city. The child bends and washes his little pale face with this same water.
Why am I wide-awake like it’s the first time I am seeing this hopelessness? Why do I feel ashamed? It’s not my fault! Are we poor because of our government’s apathy and callous ways? Are we poor because of the laziness that society tolerates? We are lost in an abyss and there’s no one to save us. Not even the government we hold in such high esteem.
My country is beautiful, it has the potential for an economic boom, its beauty promises us prosperity. Children dying due to hunger and disease sleeping under our beds. The earth in its redness opens its hands as it takes all with it, no mercy in its eyes. My country, my poor, beautiful country held in iron chains and unable to break free.
I see a child, 14 years old, making his way through the traffic to my car with a sense of hope in his steps. He smiles thinking that I am reaching for some loose change. To his despair, I reach for the central lock to ascertain maximum security. My heart unresponsive, my music even louder, my country in chains.