Day 4-Trash and Treasure
August, 2011 § Leave a comment
I woke up in the morning fully clothed and feeling like if I stand up, my bladder will burst. After getting to the bathroom, though, I started feeling refreshed. I took another bucket shower, this time in the pitch black, and began feeling revived. Especially after putting on a white shirt and my overalls. By that time I was invincible.
Delmy and I took the bus to the hospital that morning where we awaited Lisa to take us to the Dump. Nestor and Umberto were there. It was good to see them. I tried to imitate the dancers I saw the day before in Rio Esteban and even tried to dance “punta”. I love when they think I’m ridiculous.
After they left, Deibyn came to say goodbye to Louis who would be leaving from Ceiba. Soon, Lisa arrived to pick us up. We went up the hill to get Eryn and then to the Children’s Center to pick up two pieces of my heart, Jason and German.
Those boys are so stinking guapo. I missed them without realizing it. Jason sat right next to me and, to be cool, German tried to act like he wasn’t excited to see me. Man, I love those boys. I want to spoil them all the days of my life and their adolescent rejection of my affection only fuels the fire! When we stopped at the gas station and everyone got water, I had to get them ice cream. Their hesitation and sweet voices when they said “gracias” was worth all the money in the world!
On the way to the Dump, Lisa asked us to pray. It did my heart good to see those boys bow their heart and close their eyes every time someone prayed. I can see, especially with German, that some rough edges have been chiseled away. She also told us about “treasure hunting” and stories she had from that. I admire Lisa. If I choose this path, I hope I become like her. In tune with the Spirit, loving, a true servant.
For a while, things at the Dump were chaotic. Well, things at the Dump are always chaotic. But, I seem to remember a time when all the kids were seated listening to Wilson. Wilson is a young boy who lives at the Dump. He recently chose Christ and now Lisa has him trying to lead a little with the ministry.
I don’t know how to feel about Wilson. Lisa was right when she said he’s rough around the edges. He definitely wasn’t sweet or gentle. But, oddly enough, I thought he was gay. He spoke in a high voice with a bit of a lisp, kept playing with rings on his fingers. I don’t know. How could I know? It’s hard to discern cross-cultural character traits (if you can call it that…). But, all I know, is what my instincts told me. Maybe gay isn’t the right word. Maybe it is.
After devotionals and handing out baleadas, (Lisa brought 100 because there are usually 50 kids. Apparently, the kids thought Lisa was gone somewhere so a lot didn’t come.) we took the kids down the hill. They jumped off the car like little fleas as we passed their “houses”.
We parked the car and started doing visitations. The first was with a man who had hurt his knee. I can hardly bear to think about it, let alone write about it. The hospital/clinic he went to told him to take stitches out too early. The rest you can decipher for yourself.
Lisa advised him to go somewhere else for medical care. She called someone else who ministers at the Dump and told them to come by the following day, take a look at the cut, and take him somewhere for treatment. Delmy prayed for the man and I, along with some others, stepped out of the house early to drink of fresh air.
We continued our way through the heaps of trash that these people call home and saw two boys playing firemen. There was a little fire on the side of the path and they were using a ball pump to put it out. One held the air container and pumped while the other directed the end of the hose near the fire. Aside from the potential danger, it was a cute sight to behold. Especially when one got bored and ran off and the other kept at it on his own. As we turned up the path to the right, Lisa began talking to a man she obviously knew. I wasn’t paying much attention until she turned to me and said,
“How do you say hemo________ in Spanish?”
“I’m not sure I know what that means in English.”
She kept talking, asking the man if we could go to the house, now directing her questions to him and his wife. We started following them and Lisa filled us in. This woman had lost two children to a disease that doesn’t allow liquid to drain from the brain. Her current son with this disease had fallen down a week ago and now couldn’t hear or walk. We climbed an impossible amount of stairs suspended in dirt on the side of a hill, really only the frame of a staircase, and reached their house.
We walked inside and I was surprised when I recognized this boy. When I had gone to the Dump with Julia he was always the boy with quiet eyes, obviously some abnormality causing an enlarged head, and a gentle spirit. There are a few kids at the Dump that are easy to handle, he is one of them. But, the quietness of his eyes had turned to fear and confusion.
Delmy uttered prayers. We asked questions in Spanish to the mother. And then, as if grasping for an answer in any language, to each other in English. We offered our condolences, and words of faith. The mother expressed her faith, knowing that God is faithful. It’s funny how we use that phrase when we’re not sure what’s going to happen. Only that, whatever it is, it will be God’s will.
It’s also funny that we are supposed to be the one’s with something to “offer” and we have stepped into the house of a woman whose faith far surpasses my own. She is a missionary. The world (Dare I say the church?) has twisted the definition of that word. I am glad God has shown me the truth and continues to humble me.
I was the last person to hug her, kiss her son, and leave. It’s hard to imagine that all of the words that had circled and buzzed through that room translated for him into several kisses from strange lips and touches that I hope gave him hope and, more than anything, love.