Each week I take a sometimes smelly, sometimes dangerous, always interesting walk to World Vision.  Though the office is only a 15-minute jaunt from my home the environments are worlds apart.  I leave my ritzy apartment and clean, painted sidewalks and slowly make the transition to broken walkways and streets lined with trash and pantless kiddies.  (Seriously, I’m convinced that any child in the slums under the age of 5 is pantless) I go from prestige to poop in a matter of minutes.  In fact, it is normal for either myself or Aleena (my partner in crime) to say, “I may or may not have just stepped in poop” at some point during our journey…and to be honest we have many, many times.

Out of all the walks I take throughout the week, this is hands-down one of my favorites.  Not only do I encounter such a vast range of people, jobs, classes and castes, there is something thrilling about willingly going where few people desire to go.  Its like I’m breaking some sort of social norm or something, and I like it.

I like being able to step into a place where potential and possibility are so easy to recognize.  I like being surrounded by people who embrace community and simplicity, even if it wasn’t their initial choice to embrace them.  And secretly, I like the person who I am in that environment.  I like who I am in the midst of  poverty and poop.  I like who I am in the slum; a person who fearlessly steps over trash and disease and cultural barriers in hopes of making some sort of a difference.  I love knowing that the place I go each week is a place where few of my friends and family would ever willingly venture.  It’s an exhausting and often times fruitless walk, but each time I feel like a rebel...and I love it.

Ashley Sider