I wanted to post pictures of "Dia de los Niños" but the internet is so slow and it wont post. So I will have to try to post from my host dad's bookstore!
I will now post about something different....a reflection of sorts
I have less than three months left. And I honestly cant wait to go home. I have realized that my journey of traveling abroad for extended periods of time ends with this one. I have become convicted. I am convicted that we are always to go back to our country, our roots, our communities, and work for change there. I dont know if I believe in international missions work even if it is not evangelizing and instead peace-making like MCC. On the other hand, I do think it is good to experience life outside of one's own in order to see how one lives life in their country affects the lives of others in other country. And those beliefs are contradictory.
I am learning a lot...that I know has changed me for a lifetime. I have had the privilege to travel but those I am learning so much from dont. How is that fair?
I work with an organization that is all about solidarity and peace-making yet they have multiple vehicles (that are used for organizational and personal use by volunteers), high speed wireless internet, washer and dryer, electricity, computers, copiers, and all of the families that work within the city of santa cruz (international volunteers) but one couple (because their job is to work with a certain community) live in the center (within the 2nd ring), richest part of the city. While I work with parents that can barely (and some cant) afford to pay $6 to a daycare center. And they need daycare just to put food on the table! How is that fair?
There is a family that was so desperate for money they had their two sons (ages 9 and 6) sheer sheep and the 6 year old cut is hand pretty badly. He earned 5 bolivians=75cents that day. I know a mom who left her home in desperation (but came back) because she couldnt feed her kids because of her drunk husband spent all of his money in alcohol to drown the sorrows of his broken relationship with his father.
There comes a time where learning and witnessing all of these injustices isnt enough anymore. Where saying, "This struck me" or "This is injust" isnt enough anymore. But its so easy to say and so hard to do! And I am so guilty of ignoring and avoiding the main issue at hand...which is violence.
It is easy to say "I am not going to drink coca-cola" or "I am not going to buy used cheap clothing that was originally made in Bolivia, sent to the US, used by US citizens, then returned to Bolivia that pushes local business out of the market because they cant compete" or "I am only buying fair trade gifts."
No, I am convinced that it is changing a mentality. Changing a life style to true peacemaking and solidarity. We will never reach perfect peace and solidarity but we have to move from just reflection to action. Here is a quote from a friends blog that as been on my mind the past couple of weeks. This quote was said by our mentor in El Salvador who deconstructed with me many lies or false beliefs I had. I am still processing through that week and it has been more than a year.
“To work for peace and justice in societies which value possessions and consumerism can be a very trying experience, because that is what is promoted, sold to the peoples and nations in the world. Thus, the ways to create balances and keep the clarity to go on is essential. This is the key to the path of peace, and one must be about this every day. It is not about optimism, nor faith. It is about having come to a certainty – with no doubt – that this is one’s way, and that this is the contribution you are to make here on earth. It is about being able to see the vision, the light that is much farther than the day, the year, the working on the issues, or even present needs, and for that light and vision to guide one’s work to impact the seventh generation and beyond. To know – not to believe, but to know – that this is your call, your challenge, and then to be ready to carry it out in a most creative way, in joy, so you can be about your path and create possibilities so that society in its entirety can be about this nationhood project – the durable, sustainable peace project.”