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2007 and

We climbed then sat, in a mountain-hill crevice, and took in an ocean view, while he taught me elementary Spanish. Later, they and I, walked that Chilean town, realizing he’d forgotten his passport. Now unable to take the budgeted-bus through Argentina, we went to an internet place, and asked my parents to wire emergency funds, so we could get a ferry ride. Thereafter, having been aided, we traveled back: inside a below-deck storage room, cold and laughed. He sang there, unphased by workers, passersby.

I lost contact with that man.

That year, 2007, I noted shanties. I noticed, too, how I lived in a room where my breath was nightly seen and leftovers were eaten until gone, for microwaved days. I was a volunteer TEFL teacher who’d come to experience new, and better learn another language.

Sure, I taught enthusiastically, but no matter how many hours I clocked, in truth, I wasn’t there for them. The job was a travel option taken, a non-permanent occupation.

I was selfish, in that, others came after me in the big picture. I was giving my time, trying to “die to myself,” but I was a tourist with a c/o mailing address.

There’s a scene in a movie (Year One) where two guys are enslaved and footed in pyramid mortar. The guy next to them is almost dancing as he stomps the mixture. They ask him, Why are you so happy? He replies, I’m a volunteer.

People in poverty are easily not seen. There are photos or links on newsfeeds or excerpts heard on NPR, persons perched on streets sometimes glanced upon. but you’re likely dwelled, justifiably, in the weight of your own real, tangible, present-felt problems.

Yet. many starve. are dying, losing teeth, not going to middle school. have dirt floors all their lives. and all their children’s lives.

These people maybe can’t alter their familial cycle, without money sent. their contact info kept.
and some need someone(s) willing to stay for an indefinite long-term.

 

(captures, this year taken, 2014, Guatemala.)
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(nonprofits, I’m working with. I vouch you’ll make an effect if so nudged to help them,
Project for Hope, 12×12 Love Project, Love Guatemala, Educate BV, The Buena Vista Sports Academy for Boys.)

 

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parte de Semana Santa

Thursday, today, in Magdalena Milpas Altas,
came a procession that walked through and around the dyed-sawdust-stencil-laid (and other flower-fruit-miscellaneous-arranged) rugs, which were street created.

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and afterward, the street rugs are shoveled and taken away.

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reflects

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a toddler felt my painted-green fingernails and, too, his camera-reflected face, new sights for him. a motorcycle pulled up to a hardware store, and its employee brought out a plastic container and filled their vehicle with its contents, ‘local gas station.’  I rode passenger in a car with a just-met-driver and ascended a winding horse-road, sorta laughed, learning I lack a fear of death.  old, but still applicable news, street dogs, radios and roosters play during sleeping hours, while no expletives come from my mouth.  a white pigeon perched on a bucket-type container with a tarp draped aside, and I learned the bird stooped on a family’s outdoor toilet.

my room, modest enough, is the size of a good number of hereabout houses. I tuck my iPhone into a wood panel on the bunk above me and use its flashlight to type this entry.

people have read about poverty. have seen it online, or in person for weeks here-there. or some of you lived/traveled abroad enough to deeply relate– this is another world. like a far away Hunger Games district.

my friend, early twenties, who’s going to Saturday classes for middle and high school with hopes of a four-year-out graduation, works something-like 7a-11p Monday to Friday shifts at a produce place, came over unexpectedly last Friday night.  she was let out due to insufficient product.  I used to be a person who didn’t like unarranged stop-bys or even unscreenable phone-calls (jerk-face, I know).  I was humbled, after she left post-dinner post-Spanish-languaged movie, how she’d wanted to spend her free time with me.

I don’t feel guilty for my education, options, life-lot when I contrast situations, but I do believe I am, colloquialism nudged, ‘blessed to bless.’  to maybe always be(come) a little less comfortable. because gosh, my self-proclaimed ‘poor’ feels nonsense with had electronic gadgets, a car, a U.S. passport, credit cards, diplomas, supernatural-given Jesus strength.

don’t feel weighted by your three-story house, your daily lattes, backyard pool, supplied pantry and fridge, closet with more than seven outfits, feel blessed. like blessed.

maybe invite someone to sojourn, to routine lunch and coffee, to swim, to dress as nice as you. or go ahead, go further, get radical indeed.

there was a woman today, top row of teeth mainly gone. I’d seen her before, faces like hers before, like she was on autopilot, depressed or hardened, mustering through. later she leaves and two of her kids stay behind, both under 10, in front of their house with no electricity inside.

people knock on the door here often, knowing there’s a good chance they’ll be helped by the inhabitants I stay with, by those who often aid those, too, who don’t come asking.

this remember is felt, there’s more to give, do.

to often pass on the internet watching, and the passing by.