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I felt the same way when i was in cambodia for a few months last summer. Working and living there especially gave me a way better look at the conditions people live under, and the hardships they faced. the orphanage i was working in was mainly for kids whose parents had died of age, and 5 of the girls had been rescued from brothels, most near the thai border. they'd either been sold by relatives that were caring for them after their parents died, or they'd been living on the street and had been kidnapped. one of the girls had started working in a brothel when she was 11. by the time she was rescued and brought to the orphanage she was 14, and had been living there for a little over a year when i started working with her. Hearing some of these kids stories, going around the city and the countryside and actually seeing how little these people have, and how completely useless the government is in helping them, it made me feel so lucky to have been born in canada. It was such a huge culture shock coming home to canada after living there, and like you said, you can hear all about the poverty and mind numbinglyu brutal conditions that people in countries like that live under, but until you see it first hand, and especially talk with and work with people who have gone through it, you really can't truly imagine it. how long are you in india for? i have to say i'm pretty jealous. and yeah, i do acknowledge that people who live in projects in a few areas in the states have a harder life than I could ever imagine, but the poverty they live under is nothing compared to what people in countries like that have to deal with. They have nothing, and they have no functional government to provide any kind of a helping hand. The only thing they can rely on is their own strength and resourcefullness, and the help of NGOs and foreign aid groups.