PICTURESQUE POVERTY

 

As one islander recently put it when referring to the social conditions of the island, “The problem for us is that our poverty is picturesque...” 

How appropriate and astute. As any tourist might attest, the brightness of colors, the majestic scenery and the contrast of living conditions on St. Lucia make every view a postcard snapshot. 

However, there is little about life here that is sterile or sanitized. That is not to say that everything posses a health risk. To the contrary, life here is basic and rudimentary but filled with such emotion, turmoil and social dynamics that every impression is lasting and heightens  one’s senses.   The sites, sounds and smells are much more vivid. Maybe it’s the stark contrast with our own reality or maybe it is the absence of what is familiar  to us that heightens our senses.  Little here is disguised or masked. The flair and finesse of 5th Avenue is nonexistent. Riding on a public bus offers an immersion into a culture where every action is an effort, where the toils of everyday are reflected in sweat-stained garments and beads of salted perspiration congeal on your skin. Life here is hard and the camera doesn’t lie. Maybe it’s the lens or the filters that we choose that makes it picturesque. 

 



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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.