“Keep the earth below my feet, from all my sweat, my blood runs weak. Let me learn from where I have been; keep my eyes to serve my hands to learn.”
-Mumford and Sons
The city of Quito hides its poor quite well, while there are outside, smaller communities of Ecuador that are visibly in need. Inside of Quito, the ones in need are kept out of sight. After having a week of house visits, I now know what is inside the colonial style walls I pass on the street everyday. What I had thought were just single apartments or businesses, are actually the entrances to concrete walls of dimly lit rooms that surround an open terrace, a shared faucet of running water, and shared bathrooms. I imagine it must be very difficult to sleep with so many families living in close quarters, walls that do not continue to the ceiling, and having to open a loud, heavy gate to get to enter or leave the apartment. Quito is the second biggest city in Ecuador, containing the both the extremely poor and the extravagantly wealthy. The northern part of Quito is where the wealthy families live. In the northern sector, there are three different, multi-level, solely designer malls within a mile of each other, where the only thing I would be able to buy would be ice cream from the food court. Within a forty minute bus ride, it goes from people who can afford to buy a one hundred dollar shirt, to a family with an income of one hundred dollars a month. The sudden and extreme contrast of living conditions I know can be found all over the world. What first comes to mind is Skid Row in Los Angeles, where the homeless live crowded on the street, yet five minutes away are luxury apartments, shops, and businesses. Or if I dare to take a little more ownership and go closer to home, I can think of how close those who rely on food stamps and do not have medical care are a fifteen minute drive at most, away from my home. As a future social worker professional, I know I must take responsibility in learning about the resources available to my clients because I am committed to believing in the dignity and worth of people, and to promote their well-being. Not just as a social worker, but as a person, I am feeling that the idea of entitlement should not come from the happenings of being born into a certain class or within a border. It’s such a gray, and uncomfortable line of deciding where our rights to worry about ourselves, versus the obligation to care about the health and interest of others is, but maybe the line is a little closer to sacrifice than we would like to think.