Sunday, February 8, 2009


I did some laundry today, and I realized how hard it is to do what I’m doing.

It’s so hard living in a place without running water. My fingers are red from washing my clothes by hand. When I put my hands in the soapy water to wash my dishes after lunch, my fingers stung and hurt so badly! I can’t wait to live in a place with a washing machine or even a laundromat. I miss having a dishwasher or even a sink with a working tap for washing dishes. I would love to take a long, hot shower, and just stand under a spray of hot water, letting its warmth trickle down my skin... but it will be another five months and twenty days before I’ll be able to have that luxury.

It’s so hard living in a place of such monotony. When I first arrived, everything was new and exciting, but now that my life has become routine, I long for variety again. I miss living in a place with many food options! Here, we eat basically the same five foods every meal. The food is good, but I’m so sick of it. I’d love to go out for sushi, or a cheeseburger, or lasagna, or tacos, or a milkshake, or a crêpe. Mmm...

It’s so hard living in a place where everyone prefers to stay home. I’d love to go out. I’d love to go the the movies. I’d love to lose myself in a real bookstore. I’d love to catch a live show with a friend. I’d love to go out dancing. I’d love to start a dance party in my car.

It’s even harder living in a place where I don’t have very many friends. The most interaction I have here is with nuns and nine-year-olds. It’s hard not being able to see the people I care most about for nine months. It’s hard not being able to pick up a phone and call my family and friends whenever I want. It’s hard not even having convenient internet access!

It’s so hard living in a place where I don’t know if I’m making a difference. Really... am I making a difference? What if it’s all for nothing? What if I teach these kids something, but they forget it by the time they reach high school? What if they don’t learn anything from me? What if there is absolutely no point for my being here?

It’s hard being here... but I have a feeling it will be even harder to leave. Some of these kids have a hard time saying goodbye to me when they leave for home, even though they’ll see me the next day. What are they going to do when I leave for good? I love thinking about going home, about seeing my family and friends and a big In-N-Out sign, but I don’t love talking about it with my students, because they become so sad.

That’s life, I guess. This is just one chapter in my life story, and before I know it, I will be on to the next chapter. All I can do is try my best to enjoy this chapter while it lasts. I can try to live in the moment. I can appreciate the good things I have, and put the future from my mind. My future will come soon enough, and I’ll have the rest of my life to enjoy it... but my time here is limited. My first bottle of malaria pills is almost finished. When I take the last pill from that bottle, I will be halfway through my stay. I’d best enjoy what I have while it lasts, don’t you think?


cutelass ad said...

sometimes is better not to ask what can they learn from you and ask yourself what can you learn from them?

i'm reading a book from a spaniard called JAUME SANLLORENTE who went to bombay like 3 years ago, and he thought he have to do something with slums kids, who have really bad conditions and now he have a NGO!! SUCH AMAZING work he is making :) and you are making a good thing too, its useful, dont forget it! because just one man or just one woman can chage the world.

love and hugs from barcelona

JMJDave said...

Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker, once said, "God doesn't ask us to be effective. He asks us to be faithful." However, I'm sure you are doing wonderful things in the lives of these kids, things that you may be completely unaware of this side of Heaven. It will all be revealed. But until it is, you just need to keep doing the best you can and stay faithful to God and to the promise you made to do what you can for the kids.
Love, Dad