by Dan Carroll
Vanity Press Books

"With one eye closed, he looked down into the slum of Cienaga. He wished he were more conscious–it was his chance of a lifetime to see a slum up close."

Robert Beaufort makes a valiant effort trying to make sense of a life that no longer has meaning for him. The vision of his wife leading his twin daughters across a railroad crossing and being hit by a train haunts his peace of mind. Robert's self atonement consists of founding a non-profit foundation, "Kids of the World." He pours himself both financially and emotionally into making a real difference in the lives of children around the globe. He has never actually been to see any of those children in person. His expertise is in raising funds and negotiating the political minefields that threaten to resist progress. Almost by accident he is drawn into a Caribbean slum. All his pre-conceived notions are being challenged.

Carroll, the author, uses this platform to challenge readers to look at their own cultural assumptions. Are poor people ignorant? Are the morals of poor people different than those of the well-to-do? What happens in society when the poor are walled off from the rest of the community? These questions are raised and answered satisfactorily. Robert meets Julianna, who supports her whole family by being a stripper downtown. She is proud of being able to dance instead of being a prostitute, like so many other girls are forced to. Julianna's extended family works together as a unit, watching out for each other. The redemption of Robert's troubled soul is paid through letting go of the past and accepting the abundant love of a child and her mother.

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