Finding myself missing the lands of non-entitlement attitudes, basic realities and common sense, and global majority living conditions this afternoon.
We live in Bolivia but right now we find ourselves in an extended “mini-move” or long trip, within the U.S.A. Bolivia and the U.S.A. are different worlds from each other! There, social services are nonfunctional or non-existent, and basic human needs are very urgent, numerous and great. Here in the U.S.A. people are buffered by all kinds of man-made buffers – insurances, automobiles, expectations, more abundant and well-paying jobs, better medical attention and facilities, more educational opportunities (many of which seem to be scorned by a majority of the people who could, potentially, benefit from them.) Most of the people here are also buffered by only speaking one language fluently, English, instead of speaking at least two or three, which is the case with most Bolivians.
I’m finding myself missing the relational aspect of life in Bolivia, the long, easy abundant and nutritious noon meals with extended family or friends around the literal board, the walking, walking walking, from here to there, with a hundred other walkers within eye-shot of the horizons in the middle of the bustling city. I’m missing the good manners of the children, the greetings and leave-takings, the kind respect for grandparents, the polyglot colors of the fresh food markets, the rattletrap taxis and the stacked, sun-worn plastic and canvas of the shoe-mending vendors on the broken sidewalks. I’m missing the authenticity and the spontaneous variety of stores and products and houses and ice-cream stands and home-made, grass-roots small businesses sprung up around the edges of banks and schools and even churches. I’m missing the raw persistent push for survival and making ends meet and getting ahead, little-by-little, through daily stubborn persistence and long hard work.
This photo is of a bit of the property where a children-at-high-risk outreach, that I help with, is held. It is gradually getting improved, more and more and more. If not for this provision for them, these children would have nothing to help and support them in their fragile and tenuous living situations. The gradual development of this property, to serve these children, is a “God thing.” The 50 kids don’t mind that there’s no grass, and a lot of dirt, and not enough space to play football. They respond to the love and friendship offered them by the adults of the ministry team. Things can go forward, even though physical facilities aren’t yet perfect. It’s people that matter, not bricks and mortar.