“I hear, I forget….I see, I remember….I do, I understand.”
– Buddhist Proverb
Some people wait on miracles while others create them. The past two days I witness I miracle in action. A living miracle based on what occurred while we served a small Peruvian village called Chalco.
As stated in a previous post we scheduled this trip not only to tour but also to find real and meaningful ways to serve.
On March 10 a dormitory will open it’s doors to house 20 girls between the ages of 12-16. Many of these girls have been abused, neglected, or simply need a closer place to call home so they can receive a proper education with the hopes to break the chain that currently exists.
Our goal was to destroy a road, lay sewer pipes, and rebuild the road so that the girl’s dormitory can have a sewer system that works. This was no easy task because on the second day we had no heavy machinery and we were limited on the tools we could use: picks, sledge hammers, shovels, and hands.
Before we started we were introduced to the Forman of the group. His name is Alex. He told us about the school’s mission, challenges the girls have to endure and the task we were about to take on.
Let me say for a solid day and a half, a total of 12 hours, we hustled, laughed, and cried. We’re not sure if the tears we shared were because this village has so little or if it is because we have so much. Maybe it was because what we long too have is the wonderful and peaceful balance that the Peruvian people demonstrated. We extended our labor of love, and time for several hours and in return they extended their norms.
During or lunches a Peruvian family opened their home to us and prepared traditional Peruvian dishes. They offered whatever they had so that we could continue offering what we could to support this wonderful project. I wish one could have seen the joy in this family’s faces and their thanksgiving all because each participant left a dollar tip for each meal they prepared.
We worked despite heavy raining conditions and with a very limited amount of supplies. We modified as much as we could. At times we used rocks to dig, feet to push, and our hearts to guide us through this experience.
I must say, and I feel certain my traveling companions would agree, never in our lives have we seen such poverty and never in our lives have we felt so welcomed. Never in our lives have we seen people who have so little but truthfully have it all. Especially those things that matter most.
Not only did we accomplish the mission but we went well beyond the expectations. Let me explain.
Remember me mentioning the introductions with Alex? Well during this time I noticed the mattresses that were stacked in two piles of ten. To put it simply they were disgusting. Many of them were simply a piece of foam and were very dirty. I leaned over to a student and asked him to take a mental picture and to remind me to discuss this with the group. I guess the old saying is true, “great minds think alike.” At our regularly scheduled journal writing and reflections several students and parents noticed the same. By the end of our discussion we had an anonymous donor to purchase 22 mattresses and my students made the commitment to raise the funds to purchase pillows, sheets and blankets. All of the mattresses and bed sheetings have already been paid for and will be delivered to the dormitory in a few short days.
We talked about this opportunity all year. We saw pictures and images about this culture. Students have memorized facts and recited thoughts. They have recalled images and pictures with relative ease. I am so proud of the work we experienced in the classroom. However with the 26 people who committed themselves to following me in the insanity of extending the classroom to the world and making a difference, I feel certain that because “we did, we now understand.”
Be thankful for what you have. Create the balance that we learned and long to have. Remember that those who give are almost always the recipient of the greater gift.
Until next time. Pura Vida.