I remember my first encounter with extreme poverty.
I was 20 years old, an idealistic middle-class college student raised in Long Beach and fed on meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I was sitting on a chartered bus with a small group of churchgoers at the end of a day visiting an impoverished African mega-city.
I was completely overwhelmed by the day’s activities—the conversations with starving mothers, the encounters with hungry children begging to know if I had anything to give them, the smells of poverty. I was filled with emotions I had not experienced since I was in grade school.
On our way back to the hotel, I remember we all just sat there in our air-conditioned van, numb from the experience. I buried my face in my sweaty arms, pretending I was exhausted.
In truth, I was quietly weeping. Read More »