–If your child is sick or has a medical emergency, there is no 911 to call. No ambulance service. Let’s hope it’s daytime, because at night there’s NO options. During the day, unless you are one of the lucky few who owns a vehicle, you will either have to take your sick child to the hospital on a very cramped, dirty tap-tap (the main form of public transportation here), or if you can’t afford it, you’ll have to walk. Once you arrive at the hospital or clinic, you might be turned away for any number of reasons (again, even if your child is severely ill)–the facility is full, you arrived after the normal “triage” time, they don’t take care of children, you can’t pay the doctor’s fees, you can’t afford to buy the medical supplies your child will need, or for no reason at all. At that point, if your child is still alive, you might try bringing him to another medical facility, which means either more walking, or more time back on a dirty tap-tap (or possibly several tap-taps). You may never find a place to take your sick child, and end up back where you started–with few to no options.
–Your kids can go to school, but only if you can afford to buy the uniforms, books, and supplies they need. And even if you can afford this, there’s no guarantee that they’ll receive a good education.
–If you can’t afford to feed your children, there’s no such thing as government assistance to help you feed them, and there’s a very real possibility that your children will suffer from malnutrition, and a fair chance that you will lose a child to severe malnutrition.
–If someone breaks into your house or if there’s a fire at your house, again don’t bother calling 911. Hopefully your neighbors will help you out.
–You are probably not formally employed. And there sure aren’t any unemployment benefits coming your way.
–If you are the victim of a crime, everything from robbery to harassment to rape to even kidnapping & murder, it’s very possible the crime will never be prosecuted. You may not even be able to report the crime–because you might be able to trust the local police, but you might not. By reporting a crime, you might even face further difficulty and harassment.
–The garbageman doesn’t come every Tuesday at 8 AM.
–If you have consistent access to clean water, you can count yourself as “lucky.” And even if you have access to clean water, chances are you will have to go outside your home to find it, then carry it back to your home in big buckets every day.
–If you live in a substandard housing in a low-lying area, your home (which may be more like a shack) will flood whenever it rains heavily, like it just did tonight, because of the lack of basic water & sewer infrastructure. As I write this now, there are families wading through sewage and garbage-infested streams of water inside their homes. When there’s major storms and hurricanes, you’re lucky if your shack doesn’t get swept away into the sea.