Most of my blogging about my recent trip to Costa Rica was done over at the Costa Rican Diary. That however, is a blog I set up as a record of our trip for the students to be able to share with their parents and friends. By its very nature it cannot be personal.
There are, however, some very personal things that I'd like to share here. By personal I mean things that directly affected me in very real ways. Those things I want to post here.
The first of those personal things happened in the barrio pictured above.
Before I "go there," I have a confession to make. This was not my first time to leave our country and face abject poverty and hunger right in the face. This was not my first time to have my heart strings strummed. I've been to Africa, Haiti, and Mexico. I've seen conditions like these there. My heart has been stirred to action before.
But after each trip, I return home. Even with the best of intentions, it is so easy to get swept up in all that my American life entails. The longer the time and the farther the distance between my every day life and the lives of these dear Barrio People, the more their hunger and needs get placed on the back burner of my life.
I am not proud to admit this.
I think I have told myself that I HAVE been giving. I teach in a Christian school where my wage is small. I tithe. I support several missionaries. I even support one child in Zambia through World Hope.
And then I walked into the Barrio.
Over rough ground, and this is the main way in - - - not a back alley. The ground was much rougher than what shows in this photo. It was also muddy with the water refuse of the morning.
These are people's homes. Their HOMES. This is all they own.
In each of these homes there is a little grandma who is sheltering her daughter(s) and grandchildren. There are no men anywhere, they have long since gone on to other unhealthy things, and so there is little or no income. (The two men in the picture below are a missionary and the pastor of this little community.)
We took those little grandmothers a small bag of essential groceries - - - coffee, rice, sugar, noodles, and cookies.
We prayed with them.
They invited us in and thanked us.
Then we walked away. Back to our comfortable bus. Back to our lives of ease.
I remembered Jesus' words - - - "In as much as ye have done it unto one of these the least of my children, ye have done it unto me." I think of my house. My possessions. My cars. My blessings. And I realize I have done precious little for any of "the least of these." Precious little.
I realize I cannot make everything better.
I realize I am but one blessed American gal.
But I think I MUST do more.
I do not yet know what that will look like - - - but I am willing to be shown.
Friday, April 16, 2010
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Thank you Keetha for such an honest and eye opening post. It has made me think again...we do get so very comfortable in our everyday lives and forget others who live in poverty.
Thanks for sharing! It's a lesson I have learned a few times...
Those precious abuelitas (little grammas) certainly are strong women. I'm glad you and the kids had that opportunity. Our team did something similar in Honduras when I went to the Boys School with Westview.
What organization/mission/ministry did you go through or work with?
You are so right on the mark with this post. The needs are overwhelming...but as I've been reading other blogs that are doing ministry and physically helping in these countries, I realize anew that we are ONE body, each doing something different. When I first got involved with Mercy Uganda, I started noticing how many times I just leave the water running while brushing my teeth, while these people walk to a dirty little water hole and carry water back to their village!
Glad you're back.
You are so right with all that you say. It is too easy to get wrapped up in all that we need to do, be and have, and using materials measures far too often.
One of the attorneys that I've worked with in the past has also marveled at charity event sponsorships in the U.S. The $1500 for a table of 10 in Africa would buy so much for people living with so little.
In our community our firm puts so many resources (both financial and human) into helping those at-risk in our city. The "at-risk" we describe have so much compared to the people you describe. Sadly, I'm not sure sometimes that our "at-risk" population realize how many resources are available to them as compared to so many in our world.
A few years ago when Oprah came under fire for funding an orphanage in Africa, she said something that stuck with me. She said that having grown up in poverty in America she realized that she had so much. Living in the country, with resources available came with hope and we forget the opportunities and blessings we have - every day.
Thanks, Keetha, for sharing your heart with us. I know what you mean. May God keep our hearts tender toward "the least of these." May we always be willing to be shown by the Lord what more we can do and be willing to follow in obedience. This post stirred my heart again.
What a moving and heartfelt message, Keetha. It is haunting.
Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us today, Keetha. There is so much that we take for granted in our everyday "normal". You have touched my heart today.
What a beautiful post, Keetha. One that is certain to awaken the caring spirits in those who read this. We are blessed.
I so hear you. Makes me really focus on the essentials... and know that other stuff is just that...stuff. I have been on trips like that. Those trips really make me let go of a lot of stuff....and also it teaches me to not sweat so much stuff.
thanks for sharing the photos and your thoughts.
We can use you! :)
This is the last time I'll bring it up...I don't want to be annoying.
Or email me.
Mom, I'm so touched by this post. Tears are streaming down my face as I read your heart in these words and it sounds so much like mine. Let's go! :)
What an experience to go into the barrio and be able to meet some of the people. You were indeed a blessing to those that you met, that day.
What I honestly cannot even begin to comprehend is that the men leave. I've seen it before, I've heard of it, but I cannot begin to wrap my brain around it. sigh.
I admire your desire to do more. I can't imagine seeing what you have seen and not being touched like you are. We have so much to be thankful for. Please let me know what you plan on doing and if I can help in some way.
We don't realize just how much we take for granted..thank you for sharing this!
We are looking at houses right now, hoping tp purchase one soon. I can't begin to tell you what a humbling experience reading this post was for me.
I have whined about our current home because the houses are so close together and I don't feel like we have privacy. I live in a mansion compared to the homes that you've shown.
Thanks for making me stop and think Keetha. God bless you.
That is humbling, Jen and Mackenzie told me while they were in Jamaica. That my animals live better than a lot of the Jamaicans did. It is horrible. Did you see on my blog pics on one you thought was a house there were goats in the door...could still be a home, though.
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