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In 1998, Vanessa and her family moved from Chicago to Pembroke with hopes of a better life. Vanessa, her husband and four of her children are now struggling to survive on just $579 a month.

They make money by selling duck eggs, and Vanessa grows her own vegetables and raises goats for food. But, the meager income isn't enough to cover the $2,500 to $5,000 it would cost to hook up running water to their home. Every day, Vanessa pumps water into the house to wash dishes, bathe and flush the toilets.

Vanessa says she once dreamed of a big white house with a picket fence, but life in Pembroke is a harsh reality check. However, hope is still alive—Vanessa has a job interview coming up and believes things will improve with a steady paycheck.
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FROM: Oprah Special Report: Inside the Lives of America's Poor
Published on October 12, 2005

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