I’ve driven my children down Skid Row at dusk so they can see the reality of life in Los Angeles for people not as privileged as we are. Today I was driven through the capital city of Chad and witnessed poverty and squalor to literally turn your stomach.
As we left the main road and turned into a dusty road along a watery river of trash, sewage and disease, we saw where the well-dressed hotel cleaning woman and the polite pool attendant go home every night. To say that life here is incomprehensible is a ridiculous understatement.
The average life expectancy here is 47 years old; I can tell you that I have not seen one older person anywhere! I am 45 years old and because of sheer luck or fate, I was born in Los Angeles, as were my husband and my children; and based on life-expectancy rates in the United States, I should have many more years of life to experience. But the children here, the smiling beautiful children in their school uniforms, waving to us on a street corner – what chance do they have? And will their lives be better or worse than those living in refugee camps we will visit this week on the eastern border with Sudan? Some say those refugee children are better off because they’ve got the world focused on providing for them. I don’t know, but I think I understand what the words “G-d forsaken” really mean now.