Monday, August 13, 2012

When it Rains, It Pours

A year ago I came to the Maria Teresa ghetto and fell in love with the people.  They live in a poverty beyond what we can imagine in America but find joy within their means.  One of the most surprising observations I made was that the residents of the ghetto did not have extravagant wants.  Their prayer requests were for the necessities of life--a job that could provide for their families, a retaining wall that would save their homes from mudslides, safety for their family, and their children's salvation.

I remember lying in my bunkbed while it rained later in the week and thinking about those families.  What would the night hold for them?  How much of the dirt that held their homes on that precarious hillside would wash away? 

Today, I had the opportunity to witness the destruction of the rains.  I was so excited to visit the ghetto again.  I wanted to see Juanita, the President, and visit the families.  My mind was already swirling with ideas about playing with the children and capturing my experiences through photos.  Today would be the chance for me to learn more about their lives than I could have understood merely by listening. 

As we were leaving Dorie's Promise, the sky began to darken but I held out hope.  When we were preparing to leave the home of the third family we visited, I heard the familiar sound of rain coming.  It is unmistakable, just like the sound of a storm coming across the fields at our house, the rain was coming down through the valley.  Of course, I hadn't brought my rain jacket but I figured it would be quick and not a problem.  Within a minute of leaving the home, the skies opened and the full force of rain descended.  As I raced to the protection of a shared umbrella, Juanita offered me a rain jacket.  How fitting that the lady who had packed two separate checked bags solely for donations was now receiving a jacket.  There are times when we all need someone to provide for our needs and sometimes we will be humbled and surprised by the source of our help.

For the next hour and a half, we continue through the ghetto for two more visits.  The already steep steps become more dangerous when the concrete is wet and rivers of dirty water are rushing down the hill.  Visiting those final two homes opened my eyes to their lives.  I was soaking wet, as they would be if they had been caught on their way home when the rains started.  I had just made my way down the steep, wet steps, careful not to slip or fall.  And then I made it home.  Home has one or two rooms, a dirt floor, a metal roof with no insulation, and walls made from metal, or thick sheet plastic.  The floor was wet.  There were several drips that would keep beat on my shoulder.  But I was relieved to be home and safe from the storm.  I felt comfortable there with those families.

The chicken also sought shelter inside.

Reality...this wasn't my home, I got to leave.  We began the long assent from the bottom of ghetto and rounded a corner to find their greatest fear.  The rains had already caused a small mudslide to start.  On the steps was a pile of dirt.  Above was the corner post of a house just hanging over the edge where dirt once held it.  Their fear is real.  Any rain has the opportunity to wash away their homes, cause them loss, and endanger their lives. 

Many times, I have decried the fact that I don't have a garage.  Every time I open the mudroom door and see rain and utter the words "stay under the porch as long as you can" to the kids I silently curse our half width porch roof that is more of a nuisance than a help.  Wow am I spoiled!  Even when it floods and the fields are covered, our house is usually spared.  Even if the house flooded, we have flood insurance. 

My rainy afternoon just made me remember that I am blessed beyond my own imagination.  It is my job to make sure that I keep my own life in perspective and be a blessing to others in need.

Luke 12:48 "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

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