"Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive...then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Howard Thurman

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Apartment and Budget Realities

We're finally moved into our own apartment and it feels good to be able to have a place to call our own.  We lost track, but are guessing we looked at 25-30 different small homes and apartments before finding one that fell within our budget range and fit the security/safety requirements of the organization for which I work.  

What has really been difficult to come to terms with?  The price of housing (and everything else) is way out of whack with the realities here!  We are paying $2,000/month (yes - U.S.Dollars) for a 2 bedroom apartment with maybe 800 square feet.  It is very nice and includes a parking stall but really?!  We paid 25% less for our brand new 53rd floor apartment with all amenities including air conditioning and doormen in the middle of Chicago.  Supply and Demand - prices went up after so many new aid organizations came in post quake but have been out of reach for most Haitians for a very long time.  

To put that into perspective, we've been encouraged to employ the fiance of a longtime employee at Healing Hands.  She'll come in 3 days/week to do cleaning, laundry and prepare/leave dinner for us - for the going rate of $62.50 US/month.  Another reality check - this morning I paid $115 for two small bags of groceries which will feed 2 of us breakfast and dinner for 4-5 days.  Gas is $5-7 US/gallon.   The other side of that is that for $2.50 US I can buy a styrofoam container of rice, beans and a little chicken leg from a street vendor and if I have enough time I can buy bags of rice, dried beans, freshly killed meat, etc from other vendors for a little less money that in the market.  

I guess it's the reality of living on an island with heavy costs to get things here but low wages paid to those needing to buy them.



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