I wrote this blog for our mission page for our church site. I wanted to also share it with you. If you go here: http://missions.cflcn.org/from-their-home-to-mine/ You can read other blog posts from some of the other families. It's nice to read from different perspectives too :) Enjoy!! (please read on after the pictures. I'm having trouble moving the pictures down by the text).
|The homes we could see from our balcony|
|The kitchen stove|
|walking down the path. shacks on both sides|
|the area outside the living space at one of the homes. Notice their Christmas dinner turkey|
|laundry washed in lake hanging to dry|
|Happy & proud (and a bit shy)|
|Corn soaking to be ground for dinner tortillas|
|playing with rocks & straws|
Dr Elry really felt the families needed to make these some home visits to really understand how the kids we were ministering to were living. I will be honest, I was nervous. I saw the outside of these "shacks" and couldn't imagine what the inside looked like. How in the world could you make a home out of tin siding & dirt floor?
The kids that came to us looked clean & happy. To me, coming from the States, living in a house like that I don't think I would be clean & happy. How could that be??
Well, the first home we entered belonged to JuLisa & her family, her mother, siblings & cousins. In all there were 9 people living in a room not much bigger than my boys' bedroom.. 3 double beds, some furniture for clothing, table & a refrigerator! There was a little outside area where they hung their laundry & that is where the animals were (including their turkey walking around that we were happily informed was their Christmas dinner). Other things were cluttered around out there as well. The living area though was clean. Nothing laying around. The floor looked swept clean too! There was no father present in this home.
The next home we went to was a very large one compared to the first. 15 people lived in this one. They also ran a produce stand from their home. The stores & produce stands have metal bars in front so no one will steal or break in. In this house there was a sleeping area but they had a separate kitchen area. A table for preparing the food & a fire for cooking. No fridge. Some of these families will buy their food every day for that day. They have no where to store it otherwise. This family had a large outside (fenced in) area where their animals were. Chickens, roosters, dogs, ducks & a pig. There was also a rabbit.
The next day we had our other group of kids take us to their homes. We taught them how to say "This is my home" or "Welcome to my home". The smiles on their faces were just bright as the sun!! They were SO proud to have us see where they live. We weren't invited into all of them but we were welcomed all the same.
We walked & walked through little alleys with homes on both sides. These homes went on so much further than I even realized. Just when I thought it would dead-end, Dr Elry would turn & it would continue on. Just amazing. They had a little bit of space & utilized it for whatever they needed. Some people had lots of space while others were living in a room not much bigger than a bedroom in your home.
As I left one of the homes, I found myself in tears. I tried not to show this to the people who lived there. My sadness was pity. I felt so horrible for them living as they do. Bathing, & washing their clothes in a contaminated lake. Making enough money to have food for all the mouths you have to feed. Some of the people were sick & needed medical care. 9 people in a little room. My boys share a room & have trouble. 5 people in our house feels tight. I was heartbroken for these families. As I pondered these things & my reaction to them one of the kids with us spoke to me about his feelings & thoughts on it. "The villagers here know no different than what they are living. They are happy. They have food & a place to live. They have a dr that cares about them there in town. While the lake isn't the cleanest place to bath, wash clothes & drink the water from, it's all they know. "
Our job was to minister to the people there the love of Christ. Teach them English. Maybe even just seeing a husband & wife together & with their children from our group will help them see what a family unit can look like. Fathers stay & don't run away. We loved them through our actions & words to them. They were living in the only way they knew. I realized a great lesson after these home visits. I take too much fore granted. I am spoiled here in the United States. I came back feeling they blessed me more than I blessed them. I am grateful for my new friends & family in Amatitlan.