Once again thank you to so many people who have been praying for us. I must say I am humbled to read the comments from people. Please know that we are being served, welcomed, and taken care of far more than we are serving in any way. We are very thankful for the hospitality we are shown.
Today is a more laid back day for everyone. Several of us are feeling sick and appreciating the opportunity to rest. Today is market day in Santo Tomas so quite a few of the students have walked the four blocks up the street to check things out. Last night we went to mass and walked home in an incredible rain storm with water pouring down on us. We once again sang when the Saints Go Marching in at the end of mass.
In our reflection last night we talked a lot about responsibility. Seeing so much here does bring up the question of what responsibility we have toward the poor in our communities, country, the world. As I leave my room each day it is getting harder and harder for me to see the beggars waiting for Fr. Hazelton. Yet it is getting easier and easier to be tempted to not recognize them or say hello because they are always there. This really bothers me. I am reminded of Jesus telling us that the poor you will always have with you. It is not enough for me to say that in some way we are all poor… that lets me off the hook too easily. Yet, to think about responsibility can be overwhelming because there is so much need and no easy answer on how to respond to that need. I do know that seeing them as people of God is first and foremost the most important response.
We also talked a lot about immersion. There is no where we can go here and not see the suffering present on the streets and in the villages. In every way we are affected by it yet in every way we are welcomed and treated well here.
This afternoon we will go to a Mother’s Day celebration. Even though Mother’s day was last week they still celebrate it here with the mothers and children. It is hopeful to see in the midst of so much suffering there is still an importance to celebrate. People here will put on hold other things in order to celebrate.. that is one difference I see in this culture from our own. We do not take the time to celebrate in this way. The way that our schedules and commitments guide our lives is almost non existent here. Things here run day by day and each day the priorities and celebrations are different. This makes it difficult to plan but I am starting to realize planning is a very American thing to do. I don’t see it as good or bad but just as a difference in cultures.
Anyway, that is enough for now. I know more students plan to write today!