Monday, February 05, 2007

Reality Check (or "I am pampered beyond my own ability to understand")

My brother has spent the last few days in Nicaragua, with a group from church on a medical mission trip. He's no doctor, but he can sort medicine and help guide patients, and so that is what he has been doing. His last e-mail update (on Superbowl Sunday) contained the following reality checks:

There are many casinos here. There are a few that advertise Texas Hold'em.

Some of the women here cary things on their head. We saw a women this morning carrying a 5 gallon bucket of tamales on her head buffeted by a small rolled up towell.

The pet dogs here roam the street. They are so, so skinny. Its hard for me to believe they are alive. You can count every bone from 20 yards away.

It is common to be driving through Managua, the capital over over 1 million people, and see a horse pulling a cart. On the way to Masatepe, I saw oxen pulling carts on the road. These are the skinniest horses I`ve ever seen.

Remember the kids playing with the live flare in the street I mentioned yesterday? We drove past the same intersection and I saw a kid lying down in the buffer between two lanes. I guess they live there.

There is a Gallaria we drive past to go to the clinics. The Gallaria I went to in Monterrey, Mexico was exactly like the one we have in Dallas. Upscale.

The reality of life I've seen is bleak. The vast majority of people here live in poverty. 80% of the people here live in conditions we'd consider to be the bottom 1% in the U.S. I don`t know of any areas like this in Dallas.

Houses are made of cinder blocks. Many are made of tin. All buildings have bars over windows. I don't remember seeing glass windows, though I'm sure they exist.

Many people cook over an open fire. They don`t have stoves or ovens. Everywhere I`ve been I can smell an fire. It's actually been pleasant.

There appears to be some wealthy people about 10 minutes from church at Rene Polanco. Their houses are set back from the road. They have 10 ft fences with big spiral barbed wire on top. It literally looks like a military compound.

We saw a Coke truck dropping off supplies at a store. The driver was assisted by a guy with a shotgun. I never knew Coke was so valuable.
I don't pass this on to relieve a sense of guilt for having things these people would never imagine. I am content that God has put me here, given me what He has and blessed me in so many ways while He has chosen to give these people a vastly different life. I just need the reminder that it is not about what I have, but who I have (God, Jesus my savior, my family and friends). I need the reminder that what I have is not mine, but a gift - a loan, really - from Jehovah, who has a plan for me to use it to His glory.

It is a reminder that while people like those my brother is working with this week may live in content and happiness, I still have the obligation as one who loves Christ to touch their lives and give of what I have (money, love, time) to help them in their trials; and their simplicity is a reciprocating gift to me, a reminder that I need much less in my life than those things to which I cling. God, to whom I should cling, is so much more than what I know and see with my eyes.

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Anonymous said...

Such a great reminder. Thanks Euphrony.

We got an update on one of our Compassion children recently and it mentioned that the average income in her region is $25 per month...


Douglas said...

Yeah, my monthly donations to compassion are more than the average salary. Heck, the Compassion overhead is 20% of the average person's salary: not spectacular but not really poor either.

The real reason for my post was to note that Seth's blog on purgatory was Wednesday, January 24, 2007. A simple search for 24 or purgatory will take you to it. Seth wasn't sure what you meant by linking to it near the top of the blog.

I look forward to hearing your perspective.


Anonymous said...

I would say that u are lucky...Atleast u realise that u r priviledged...Congrats!!

euphrony said...

Doug and Justin, Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

I feel a little weird, at times, because I've never done things the way others seem to do them. I don't sponser through Compassion - though a great work, I'm just not involved in it. Not to say, of course, that my family is not working to aid people; we just do different things. Another demonstration that I am not in the mainstream. Oh well.

Doug, I'll be getting back to the purgatory post soon. I promise. I've been finishing of a paper at work and stripping wallpaper and painting at home, so blog time has been more limited to fluff or a few timely issues. It's been a good discussion, though, and I appreciate your contributions to it.

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