It wasn’t until I moved from the country, to the convent, to the brothel in the city that I saw just how different these lifestyles are. It is the children from the rural areas who feel the heavy weight of the Roman Catholic Church influencing the course of their lives. Here in the city we have access to warm water and electricity, where in rural areas there is rarely even access for all to attend school. Although families living in urban areas are just as large as those in rural areas, the families working the fields are left experiencing grinding poverty. Before I left the country I never would have noticed the differences, but now, coming from a poor family, I can see the unfairness in this disparity.
In rural areas the church controls everything from public schools to health care and other social services, which are controlled by the state in other provinces. Since there is no provincial ministry of education, the church still heavily influences the curricula, which remains solidly uniform. This is causing high dropout rates in and area where an education is not highly accessible. Many of these children are not getting the education necessary to give them a choice in their futures. It is harmful to them, even if they manage to leave the farmlands, because in urban areas education is reserved for the rich.
There are very few schools and churches in urban areas, making it hard for the children to cross the distance over the harsh Quebec winters. Families are even starting to put less of an importance on an education. As my father would say, you don’t need an education to work the field. The education that these children receive, or don’t receive, becomes essential later on, since many people, like my brothers Pomme and Number Seven, are now starting to move to the city in search of work.
These children are left in unsafe situations. They do not have...