Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Casa Damasco...I've come along way

I am now also the only North American volunteer left here as well, it used to be very hard for me to go there as I always left like I was not doing anything to improve the people situation, but I have come to change my way of thinking of the place. I am not there to change anything, or to change anybody, I am there to love the unwanted......unconditionally. I am not there to clean the kitchen or too wash the floors (even thought I want too very badly) I have finally gotten to the point where I don’t see the dirty floor or the dirty dishes anymore, I just see the people now. I wish this wouldn’t have taken me 4 months, what can I say, I’m a slow learner. We have had 4 deaths since I’ve been here, each time it was always a little disheartening because I felt that we didn’t get the miracles that we had prayed for. I know that God allows some people to suffer more than others and that he has a reason for this and I don’t have the authority to know what that reason is.....not everything is my business. I think even Jesus said he didn’t know all God’s business (I’m too lazy to look that verse up but I think it’s there) All he wants me to do is to love the people and he will do the rest, so that is what I am continuing to do. I’m still not able to understand Otencia and everyone tells me she just talks jibberish anyway, works fine for me because mu Spanish sounds like jibberish too. We are getting along just fine, the last 2 weeks I have had to sit with her on the street corner as she refuses to go into the house, she says she is going home and is waiting for a taxi (she’s been waiting for 2 weeks) She has warmed up to me a lot since I got there, she lets me hug her now and even lets me pray for her, mind you if my prayer gets too long she says amen for me. She’s never changed her clothes yet or taken her big winter parka off; she will once in awhile wear the lipstick I gave her. She has told me many times that she has 7 children, if this is true I can totally understand her craziness. If I had 7 children I might very well be sitting on some street corner with all my belongings waiting for a taxi that will never show up as well. (Who knows how I would deal with that many children) I really don’t know what her story is but my heart really does go out to her, I will miss her dearly when I leave. Strange as she is, she is a sweet heart.

My Espanol

I now know enough Spanish to finally be understood, which is sometimes not a good thing. Now that the people can actually understand what I am saying I have to be extra careful what I say. For example, I told my vegetable guy that I needed to buy 2 eyes, and he understood me very clearly..... and started laughing, which is when I realized that I had mixed up the words for eyes and garlic.....they are different by only one vowel and I can’t seem to get them straight. I have had a few more of these funny little mishaps, never anything too serious. There are also some words that I just cannot wrap my tongue or brain around, like the word for “fun” a little 3 letter word that becomes a 10 letter tongue twister, I just stay away from that word all together and use the word “happy” instead. Instead of saying “this was so much fun” I say “this made me so very happy” it works. I have come so far with my Spanish and now I am sad to leave because I know it will just wilt away after I leave and then if I come back I will have to start all over again....or is it like riding a bike? No se’. golly I think I’ve got them figured out

As chaotic as everything else is, the city bus system here is awesome, bear in mind I am comparing it too Africa, Peru and Paris.....not Canada, I have never taken a city bus in Canada. You can go anywhere within the city and municipality of Mazatlan on a city bus (except to Stone Island of course) Way out on the edge of town where Jorge and I go with the puppet truck on what looks like a donkey path we meet city buses. You just have to know which bus goes where, and I can now go anywhere I need to go by bus, no need for the ripper offer taxi drivers anymore. Only once did a bus break down when I was on it, if you saw these buses you would be amazed that that has only happened once to me. I’ve come a long way since living at “Wal-Mart?”

A little sadness

My time here is almost up and I have to think about leaving. I didn’t get to travel as much as I had wanted too. I somehow got too comfortable here and got caught up in everyday life and time just flew by too fast for me. The day I bought my ticket I was quite depressed and had no energy anymore. I felt like I may as well just go home right away instead of feeling this way for another 4 weeks. The very next day a friend took me quading all over the Island and I had so much fun that I almost forgot about my plane ticket home. We went through the coconut plantations, the orange, papaya, lemon and mango groves, Nopale fields (cactus) cow fields, shrimp farms, saw crocodiles, turtles, chickens ( found 3 eggs) cows, all kinds of birds, crabs, bee hives, ant farms, ostriches, goats, donkeys and horses. As we stopped for a break to rub the dust out of our eyes and slurp up 2 coconuts I remembered, 4 more weeks and then no more coconuts for me. On the way home we took the beach way and as the damp salty ocean air blew over me I felt a sadness over come me again. I was sad about having to leave this life behind but I was also very sad that I am so sad to leave. I have a blessed life in Canada, good job, good home, a great family, an awesome church and wonderful friends, what is missing for me there? Why can I not be as content there as I am here? It makes me sad that I am not excited to go home. What is missing? It has to be more than fresh papayas, coconuts and salty ocean air. What is it?

The most beautiful students ever and a Casa Damasco story

Today I announced to my class that I only had 2 more weeks left to teach them (I’m choosing not to work during my last week here) The next question of course was “are you coming back next ear”? I so badly wanted to say yes, but yet didn’t want to give them false hope. I told them I hoped so. Almost all of the students gave me hugs after class today; they are not going to make leaving easy for me. The school director has also asked me if I am coming back next year and if I would be willing to teach here on Stone Island. They have never been able to find volunteers that are willing to come out here to teach and so have not implemented an English program out here yet. I could be the one to change that. I would have loved to be able to teach right here but when I first made the arrangement to teach I didn’t know I would living out here yet. I know I also can’t make that commitment unless I can commit to coming back for at least 4 years in a row, there is no sense in teaching for one year and then if I don’t come back and there is no one to take over after me they have to drop the program. It would be so awesome to be able to give the kids on this Island the opportunity to learn English, for free. Ohhhh I have a story.........
There was a gentleman at Casa Damasco that had fallen on hard times, he was homeless and had no job and of course had no money. He ended up in the hospital with some illness (I can’t remember) while in the hospital someone noticed that his English was very good and after he recovered and was ready to be released he was given a job at the hospital as a security guard. Shortly after that another staff member that had some connection at a big fancy resort in the Golden Zone managed to get him a job as a security guard there. He now has a good job and has managed to save up enough money to rent a little apartment and is doing very well, he would not have been given this job had he not had any English. He may never get rich and fat with this job but he should always be able to pay his rent and buy his food, which certainly beats living on the street or staying at a crowded homeless shelter. Bless the person that taught this man English ( he may just have learned it himself) , bless the person that took the time to notice his English and bless the person that took the initiative to find him a job....this person could have just paid him no attention, he was after all just another homeless person.

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