The Friday at Dail and the floating village was a hard day. When we helped out at Dail community. When we started to help serve food I was excited about the energy in the room. But when I got to the eating area and I fed a child with a swollen belly while watching two mothers take food away from their children’s plates to feed the rest of the family that night, I broke down. The desperation and poverty was too much. This programs helps; it feeds those who might die very soon from starvation without it, but there is no way that this is a solution to the poverty in this area. These children and mothers have to go everyday to get their food from Dial. This is a wonderful service for these people who would most likely starve without it. In addition to being provided with spiritual support and even a library for the kids. But I think the experience brought up more questions than comfort about the development happening at Dail. How is this helping these people work their way out of poverty? What message is this sending to these children?
I was confronted with more questions when we went to the floating village and I saw where these children were coming from. What’s upsetting is that it’s been turned into a tourist attraction. The tourism gives these incredibly poor people money but does it take say their pride? Or are they proud of being able to provide a service and make money for their family? Most of the “workers” are children, holding snakes, selling cans of pop, giving back massages, or posing for pictures all for “one dolla”. We are keeping these children from getting an education – there is a floating school for them to go to! Are we doing them a service or a disservice? Is tourism good development? Is Dail giving these children a change to leave the tourism in a positive way? How does Dail need to evolve to better address the needs of these poverty stricken people?
I can only pray that we may have the wisdom to treat this beautiful country and these beautiful people with the respect and help they deserve.