A Weird Transition
Ok well I get to be one of the lucky ones and write a second blog. I first want to start by thanking all of those people that have been keeping us in their prayers. This experience has been life changing and challenging for every person down here, and I don’t say that lightly. What we have seen, experienced, and shared with each other has brought a range of emotions. We have shared laughter and joy to tears of sadness. Many questions have assailed our group that we have not been able to find the answer to. In spite of this our trip has been a success. In a little over a week we have learned not only to love the people down here, but also love each other and ourselves and see Christ in all. The transition however from this world of poverty in Santo Tomas to the states however is where I want to dwell on in this blog.
The last two days we have spent in Panajchel. I have never had so much disdain for such a pretty town. This is the ultimate tourist attraction. The lake is real close and there are dozens of little shops where a person could get anything that they desired. There are many Europeans and Americans walking around. Many of the people also know way more English than in the upper Mayan regions. Despite all of this beauty I am frustrated. I have been living in a poverty stricken region where even though I was treated and fed like a king I could still feel a sense of kinship to the people living there. I desired with all of my heart to treat them, as Christ would want me to. Many of them became my friends. I can see their faces and remember our conversations and even though it was difficult at times to see the level of poverty, but I could get through that in the relationships that I created. Here is a different story. The markets are filled with vendors that are trying to sell their wares. The line between was is hand-made and factory created is blurred. It is more difficult to see that my money is being put to a family that actually needs it instead of going to some corporation that is exploiting these people. The poverty is still present, but no one wants to talk or let you get to know them. They will follow you all over town just to sell their wares and part of me wants to buy them because it might help them. Another part wants to be left alone because all they see me as is a way to make some money. I guess this is the dilemma that everyone in our group is dealing with.
The transition therefore is hard. I personally would like to be back in the mission because this touristy mode is difficult for me. However it is getting easier. At first I shut down and just wanted to forget this place and get back home, but now I can see the stark contrast and it is good that I can get a chance to understand the different faces of poverty here in Guatemala. This scares me in a way because I don’t want to forget all of the things that I have learned and just get comfortable with entering back into my own life. I guess I will rely on God to make sure that this experience has helped to transform my heart in full that I may be able to see and respect the poverty that is present in all of the world and not just when it is starkly in front of me. I seriously hope that I get the chance to return here after I graduate from college and put in a year of service. There is so much work that needs to be done and I want to be part of that. Much love to all of you who have been in my prayers and thoughts. I can’t wait to share all my experiences with you and tell you of all the people that I have fallen in love with down here.