This morning I took the kids out to the beach before breakfast just to enjoy the sand and the waves. I love the sound of the ocean, and could listen to that for hours on end in total peace. Of course with two kids nearby it wasn’t exactly “peaceful” but it was fun nonetheless. I especially liked just watching my daughter as she stood mesmerized by the waves, exclaiming every so often, “Mommy! That was a BIG one!!!” Very cool.
Breakfast was good and soon it was time to pack up the vans to go to another school feeding. We followed a different route this time, though the beginning was the same. We ended up out in the “sticks” as we would call it, in a very country type of setting. For a long time we followed a single-lane dirt road with fences and what looked like pasture-land on either side. I laughed because at one point in time a bicycle passed us on this road, because we could only go so fast over all the potholes! The houses here seem to be mostly made of concrete blocks or bricks, and are spaced further apart. I almost got the impression that there was a bit of land with each house, though I doubt that was the case. These houses definitely though were not the houses of made-up materials scavenged from the dump like the other houses we saw around the other school.
This school was set against a mountain, and was a spot of color amidst the brown. There were bright blue accents to go along with the nice white walls of the school building. Patches of grass were interspersed with concrete walkways, and small trees dotted along in the grass. A tall fence surrounded the entire compound, and was topped with razor wire. This was a change from the other school in that the other school just had high concrete walls surrounding it, and not razor wire. It’s kind of interesting that here, where there is obviously a smaller population, there is more security around the school setting. As we stood there waiting for the bread and juice to arrive, we glimpsed some of the kids inside. They were all in nice white shirts, skirts for the girls, and pants for the boys. When it was time for the kids to line up, I was very impressed with the discipline here. I was told later that this school actually is poorer than the other one, which surprised me. It seems, with how nice the school and the kids were, that this must be the richer. But these are more rural kids, not as much city kids as the others, and have even less means than the kids we’ve seen so far. Regardless, the kids were great! I had a great time again trying to learn Spanish and teach English. One little girl pulled out a piece of paper and started to ask me what English words were to go along with the Spanish words. She would write both words down on the paper, and I assumed it would be for her to read and study later. Boy was I surprised when she ripped the paper out and gave it to me so I could continue to study! It totally made me smile at how this little girl is taking care of me, a total stranger.
Later this same little girl came and asked me where I lived. I told her, and then she asked if it was very hot there. I said no, and tried to tell her that it rains a lot where I’m from. The best I could come up with was there was a lot of “water from the sky.” She picked that up, and thankfully taught me the word for rain (which I’ve forgotten already!). I then tried to push my luck and tell her that it snows every now and then. Boy was that fun! I again told her about the rain falling from the sky, only when it’s really cold out, and that’s it’s white, and what do you call that in Spanish? She didn’t know, but turned to one of the moms who was sitting outside the gate. The mom smiled at me, and it was then that I realized she had been watching us the whole time! I went up to the fence and spoke to her, me in halting Spanish and her in halting English. I said that this heat isn’t too bad for me, but it’s hard for my kids. Another mom laughed, and basically said that it was hot for them! I said that yes, for just a few days it’s okay for me, but that if I lived here full time I know it would get to me. The first mom then said something that really struck me deep. She said, “Yes, when you are only on vacation for a few days here it’s not so bad.”
She didn’t say when you come here to help us, or on a mission. Maybe that’s not in her language or understanding, and “vacation” is all she knows for a word to put with it. I began to wonder just how many “tourist” groups come to these schools to “feed” and take pictures, and then go away. Is it one of the things you can do from the cruise ship….”see the locals!” I know it sounds harsh, but it feels like they are used to groups of strangers coming to the schools, just to see how things are here.
I would go back each day for hours just to teach the kids and play with them, if I could. I wonder what God is calling me to, with the stirring that is being raised up? I know Mark and I both said we would love to live in Mexico and teach, but do not feel that that is where God has called us. We continue to be called to where we live right now, and to do what we are doing there.
But what if…………..
Back to the hotel we go to swim again and eat again and rest again. I’m sure glad we brought our Ipod and attachments to hook it up to the TV so our two kids can watch cartoons in English. We need them to rest, and they are beyond naps, so the best thing for them is to let them watch cartoons. Watching them in a different language just isn’t the same. J
Tonight we head out to the dump. It’s apparently going to be quite the experience, and I’m looking forward to it. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m open to whatever is thrown my way.
Oh, on another note, we got some clarification this morning on the stone at the School of Champions. Apparently it was not erected by Linda, the woman who was killed on the airplane with her husband Joe. This was her mission field, yes, and she was very determined to make a change in Puerto Vallarta. But it was erected a few months after the plane went down by their son Jeff and his wife Melinda as a remembrance to them and I’m sure, to what they had started down in this area.
Again….can one person change the world?
I’m seeing that the answer is yes. Just ask all these little kids that now have running water, showers, and food if one person has made a difference. Ask the kids who used to work in the dump if they appreciate that their younger siblings don’t have to do the same thing. Ask the parents if they are glad to have food to feed their family and if they like knowing their kids don’t have to work in the filth anymore. Ask the parents who know that their child might just have a way out now.
I bet at least some of them will answer that yes, one person CAN make a difference in this world.