Thursday, December 11, 2008

No Ducking Allowed

I've aways needed just that little extra push to get going on anything and everything in my life but once on track I'm known to charge full steam ahead. For instance, when I saw this picture how could I NOT collect shoes to send to Guatemala??

1400+ pair have been bundled and sent so far but the need is SOOOO great that I'm still nagging everyone I know to give me their children's hand-me-down shoes. Vanessa has just returned where she personally handed out 700 pair and still it is just a pebble in the ocean of need!! The power that a simple pair of gently used shoes hold in a place as poor as Guatemala is very hard for us in the land of plenty to grasp. That simple act of generosity often means the difference in whether a child gets to go to school or not!! A mother who must walk miles a day searching for firewood can protect her feet from harm or a father can stand on the hot cobbles in the market trying to sell whatever he can for the little bit of cash the family brings in as income. I've been working with several NGO's and take pride in the fact that "I get it!"......and then God picks back up that 2x4 that he uses to get through my thick skull and takes another whack!!!!!!!!!!

Today I was scheduled to work on the mobile clinic which was parked in the parking lot of a primary school in one of the wealthiest communities in our county. As I pulled in I wondered to myself just how many children could possibly meet the poverty level income requirement in this neighborhood and expected a 'short day'. The first four children were brought over from the Junior High and there was no ducking from God's lesson this day....four refugees just arrived from Burma. Imagine being born into a refugee camp where even your live birth was a stroke of luck and then a childhood where you managed to survive contagious diseases and physical assaults. Then like a bolt of lightening an American charity manages to arrange for visas that within days lands you in a place as alien as Mars would be to us. A place colder than your tropical birthplace was hot, where the light comes by touching a bump on a wall, and the toilet is made of porcelin and uses more water in one flush than your family would be rationed in a day!!! Then picture being led by people who's language you do not understand from your classroom out to a truck where more people you do not understand guide you to a reclining chair and turn a blinding light towards your mouth!!! THIRTEEN years old and getting their FIRST dental check-up in their lives.

I will probably spend more sleepless nights trying to work through the myriad of issues that this day raised. Is it really charitable to bring these people to a community in which they will take generations to "fit" in if ever? How much less would it have cost in money and psychological trauma if that same charity had worked with NGO's in southeast Asia to find a sanctuary within their culture? Will these families ever thrive here? Did I do as much as I could today to ease their transitions? Will I be able to teach my daughters to appreciate our good fortune in light of the deprivation that so many of our fellow humans must endure? Will humanity ever band together to reduce this deprivation? As I climb into my bed tonight and pull up the thick, warm blankets I know I will again struggle to tell myself that those shoes do matter.....and that God is swinging that 2x4 at alot of others to get the blankets, clean water, medicine.........come on folks!!! No ducking allowed!!!!!!!!!!!

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