Monday, February 27, 2012


I’m thinking about this season of Lent.  And sacrifice.  And the ultimate sacrifice that was made for us.  And what that means for us -

Christ walked in solidarity with the poor.  As Christians, we are called to follow that same path: to love the poor and work for justice.  I know there is way more to it than that – but just this ‘little’ piece of it is big enough for the moment.  More than I can handle even.

So how do we do that exactly?  What does loving the poor look like?  What does seeking justice look like?  When I really ponder, it just seems SO big and overwhelming. It seems impossible to really be effective as an individual. 

But then … what is the definition of effective?  Does it need to be quantified?

I’ve been pondering a lot lately.  It has been weighing heavily – thinking about my first world reality … and the ‘3rd world’ reality I’ve been living in for the past 3+ years.  (For the record, I don’t like the label ‘3rd world’ because it seems so demeaning – ‘developing’? not much better).

Knowing that I’ll eventually go back to my first world reality has my head a bit concerned.  The fact that I even have the freedom to move freely between both worlds is something I cannot take for granted. 

I do not want to fall back into a life without consciousness. 

I do not want to forget the dirty children – dirty not for lack of love!  But for lack of water to consume let alone bathe.

I do not want to forget the sweat rolling down the faces and backs of men working in the fields trying to grow enough for his family to eat.  And the knowledge that his little plot of land probably isn’t even his … he probably has to pay his rent with corn … A crop which he may or may not even be able to harvest: the weather might not cooperate … the soil is useless without fertilizer which he cannot afford … a plague of bugs?  All these things he has to contend with.

I do not want to forget the women.  Where cooking involves carrying up to 50 pounds of firewood on their heads from who knows where, who knows how far, back to their homes.  Where making a tortilla involves corn taken off the cob by hand, cooking it for a few hours in her home with the heat and the smoke from the fire filling her house. Then grinding this corn - often on a rock slab with another hand held rock.  Kneading it into masa – a dough –  with just enough water so she can roll it into a ball, then pat, pat, pat it between her hands to the proper shape and thickness and then slapping it onto the comal – her clay griddle – which is sitting on that fire … on the ‘stove’ in her home which is creating all that heat and smoke.  And all that is causing a myriad of respiratory problems for her and her family – with virtually no resources for medical care to bring relief.

I won’t get into the process of laundry … well … maybe a little.  Someone in the family has to fetch water from a faraway stream or other water source.  They potentially have to walk at least an half hour with a 50 pound cantaro (water jug) on their head. This jug is only about 4 gallons – so depending upon the size of the family – they may need several trips to the water source for cooking, drinking, laundry and bathing.  No wonder the children are dirty!!!

I do not want to forget the families who struggle just to survive.  Working very hard – doing the simple every day chores at home, in the fields, doing random temporary jobs like digging ditches or road repair for a couple dollars. 

I do not want to forget the man on the Pan American highway … scraggly long hair, wrapped in a scuzzy blanket with naked legs and bare feet – walking to who knows where.  God only knows how he survives.

And I get to go back to my first world reality. 
Oh my God don’t let me ever forget.

Thanks to Radio Free Babylon for giving me permission to include this 'cartoon' in my blog.  Check them out on facebook - search them and 'like' - - - if you like ...

No comments: