What can I do? What can I say?
Today was overwhelming. There are so many needs in Guatemala and it is overwhelming to see so much in just one day. We were able to enjoy lunch and some play time at the park today with the children from Dorie's Promise. As I sat on the pavilion floor and played Lincoln Logs with Brandon, I felt guilty. I can't remember the last time I sat and patiently played with my own children. Most days, I am hovering over my computer or hurriedly trying to complete some other task while the children play.
After lunch, we traveled to the Maria Teresa Ghetto on the outskirts of Guatemala City. The residents literally live on the side of a cliff. I can fairly judge it's steepness because I climbed to the bottom and back up today. If I hadn't been trying to avoid hyperventilating, I may have thought to count the steps. The homes in this ghetto are mainly built from whatever construction-type materials the families can find or buy. One home had trees limbs for studs. Another home had carpet for some of the walls. The homes are by no means extravagent but they are tidy and loving.
I am amazed by the ghetto residents. They were welcoming to us and more than willing to share about their lives. At the same time, they weren't sharing so that we would give them money or show them pity. What they enjoyed most was the time we spent praying with them--for their families, for necessities like a new retaining wall so that their homes are not flooded when it rains or destroyed in the mudslides. As I share this evening, it is steadily raining. I wonder how many homes are wet inside tonight and who is sleeping elsewhere because their home isn't safe when it rains.
When we reached the park at the bottom of the hill, we were greeted by many of the residents. Believe it or not, we played basketball and soccer with some of the ladies. We won basketball but got smashed in soccer. While we were in the ghetto, I never felt afraid or even different. It didn't matter that I was an American. We were just spending time with families. Even though we brought much needed food, school supplies, and clothes, the people really wanted to interact with us. On several occasions, we were told that we are always welcome with them, their homes are always open to us. How many times do we open up our comfy, oversized homes to others, especially those we have just met? Would we be willing to share our necessities with others if we barely survived ourselves?