Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Widow Home #900

During 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 (I think those are the correct years) I spent four weeks in Guatemala building homes for widows, serving food up in the mountains at feeding programs, playing with beautiful little children there (that was my favorite part), falling in love with Guatemala, and praying a lot.

This week a team from the States built the 900th widow home with Manos De Jesus/ Pray America, the ministry that I served alongside there. I had part in building 9 homes, I think. Ugh, I can't even remember.
The 900th Home
Guatemala truly changed me. I'm pretty much certain it had considerably more impact on me then I had on it. But it's SOOOO easy to fall back into "normal" life and not necessarily forget, but stop thinking about the reality that there is so much need and lack in this world, that truly we are so very blessed beyond measure and to fret about the tiniest of things that do not matter. Today I chose to remember, to find excitement in the 900 homes that Manos De Jesus has built for widows in Guatemala, and to just be thankful.

Excerpt from the book I've been writing on and off (mostly off) for the past 7 years. 
Upon leaving the city, the mountains stretched out ahead, inviting us to make our way into their hills. Hidden winding roads carved by hand out of the solid massive rock, fashioned along steep ravines and rising and falling like the track of a rollercoaster awaited our bus. I saw for the first time volcanoes, engulfed in clouds on the horizon. There were banana and avocado trees amidst the corn fields. Men, women and children walked and bicycled alongside the road. In small patches of grass there’d occasionally be a scrawny horse grazing alone, bones protruding out from beneath its skin, and a rope tied to a rock and slung around the animal's drooping neck. Practically every animal we saw was merely skin on bones. There was little life visible in any of them. Their eyes were open, they were standing, but practically all of them, cows, horses, goats, and the dogs were skin on bones, flesh clothed skeletons.   
I saw people walking cows with ropes round their necks, alongside the careless traffic speeding down the winding roads. Gaunt little dogs ran free ubiquitously. Men covered in filth from the day’s labor, lay in siesta from their treks within the grass wherever they chose to stop. The people I saw traveling on foot in the open air beneath the warm sun looked tired. They were dirty and their clothes were ragged. They all moved slowly with obvious destinations ahead of them but no one seemed in a hurry. Accompanied by demonized semi trucks and speedy little cars we rushed by them. I continually marveled at the lethargic pace of the overworked people outside of my window. No one moved that slowly back in the states. 
Men and little boys walking hunched over like Neanderthals trudged along the streets with loads upon their backs two and three times their size. They were human ants. The large parcels often of logs were held together by ropes, set upon half erect man and held in place by a strap that ran across the bearer’s forehead.  I wondered at their journeys. Had these men and boys walked all day like this? Taking a second look at a small boy with his man sized load I could imagine the pride he might feel at doing his part in the family but how he must wish he were off playing somewhere with that heavy pack far from him. When must he have begun carrying his load to be able to bear so much weight at such a young age? I can picture a 1 year old taking his first steps with a rope running across his forehead while a stick dangles from his little back. I wondered at the fear the boy may have had of his father’s wrath if he should fail to be able to carry on to the end. 
A weathered strap clung tightly to his young forehead embraced by the boy’s dark black hair, but I wondered, beneath all that pressure, were there thoughts of school creeping around struggling to escape the confinement? Did he desire to learn more, to walk down a different path? After my brief reflection I looked back at the man walking beside the little boy and I wondered again at their journey. Had the man walked all of his life like this? Had each load left its mark on his back and squeezed out any unreasonable dreams he may have had? Was the small child at his side merely a flashback to the past? Was he a father or a looking glass into the little boy’s future? There I saw a grim past and a sad future walking side by side. So foreign to me this was their reality. 

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing that people (you) volunteer and do this. I see how this is life-changing.