Friday, March 06, 2009

In Later News...

We are house sitting this weekend.  Yay!  I love children, but our landlords brought their daughter-in-law and her hija along with them for their (Lord willing) ten day visit and the house is a little full.  Not to mention the fact that I have seen Mr. Landlord (is it bad that I don't know his name?) with out his shirt on more than once.  Is it just me, or is that a little awkward?  Not to mention the fact that we now feel uncomfortable inviting people over for dinner and things like that.  I've been locking the door to my room.  It isn't that I think they are going to steal something, but I don't want anything happening to my borrowed guitar.  

Anyway, we are house sitting, which is amazing.  I tried to take pictures with the camera on my computer (stupidly left my portable camera at home) but they were very blurry.  So to describe; this house is in El Golf, upper class Peruvian neighborhood complete with country club and the finest hotels in Trujillo.  Most of the missionary families live here, but to give a little perspective on what upper class means here I must note that there is still no air conditioning, you still cannot flush toilet paper or drink the water (the pipe system is a mess), sometimes there is an inexplicably bad smell (though I smell it too when I leave my house in the mornings sometimes), and you still have stray dogs running around procreating.  Oh yes, procreating.  I have been scarred.

I would say that the girl interns and myself live in a middle class neighborhood, but the gap between our "middle-class" and the poor here is stark and sobering.  Our house could fit at least two of their houses in it, if they have a house at all, we have paved roads, most of them walk in the dirt and sand, we have fans for hot nights and curtains to keep out bats and bugs... I honestly can't imagine what they use...

I've been complaining about how our widow maker isn't working (for those of you who have just tuned in, a widow maker is the device that heats up the water so you have enjoy a steamy shower - also can be dangerous to your health depending on the model, I have gotten shocked by one of these before), but I seriously doubt that the poor of Peru even have running water.  I gripe about not having internet at our house, but the poor of Peru don't even have electricity.  I wine when my food goes bad quickly, but the poor sometimes go days without a meal.  Where is my perspective?  How did I become so spoiled?  I pride myself on being so self-sacrificing for doing mission work, but I am living just as well as I did in the US while the poor starve.  Sure I give food every once in a while or clothes that I don't wear anymore, but couldn't I do more?

This is something I have constantly struggled with.  Daily I have children, dirty, wining, sometimes crying children come up to me with a little bag of candy or gum, begging me to buy from them and almost 99% of the time I frown and tell them 'no'.  I reason that if I bought from all of them I would have no money, I reason that I cannot help them all, I reason that they could be lying to me.  But are any of these reasons actually justifiable?  Jesus said that whatever you did for the least of these you did for Him, but he also said to be shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.  Do I give all my change to every child I see?  

One way I have tried to find a happy medium is by 'adopting' a woman on my way to work.  I make her a peanut butter sandwich instead of giving her money, I try and talk to her a little, but most of the time I am still hurried, most of the time I fear I am just trying to ease guilt rather than show her the love of God.  I pray for pure motives, but I still fear.

I really don't have an answer to any of this.  I suppose I'll just pray for direction.  And ask for your opinion.  How do you think we should help the poor, especially when it is so obvious in a place like Trujillo?

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