The Adventures of April

We shall not cease from exploration - And the end of all our exploring - Will be to arrive where we started - And know the place for the first time. -- T.S. Eliot

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Escuela de la Montana

I have loved my time at the Escuela de la Montana. Getting here and finding the school went fine. In fact, I am liking it so much, that I am going to stay for an additional week here! Which means that I again will not have much access to email.

The school is located near several small villages. The profits from the school go to finance scholarships for over one hundred middle school and high school students, who otherwise could not afford to go to school. A couple from the US run the school. One is a nurse - one of two nurses in a district of 30,000 people! She helps out at a local clinic.

I live in a house with ten other students, most of them are from the US. They are wonderful people who are very committed to being agents of positive change in the world. One is a lawyer (and a former Fulbrighter!) from the US who is learning Spanish so he can better serve his clients at his migrant, immigrant and labor law firm. Another is a social worker from Chicago. It seems like all of the students are interested in putting their Spanish skills to work in some positive way!

I eat my meals with a family in one of the nearby villages. The food is excellent! My host family this past week was a mother with four sons and a daughter. The father is living in Houston Texas as an illegal immigrant in order so his kids can go to high school and hopefully university. He crossed the desert in Arizona, which is a very difficult and many times fatal journey, in order to work at below minimum wage so his kids could get out of the cycle of poverty. He has been gone for two and a half years. I can only imagine that it is very difficult on the family. He wants nothing more than to return to Guatemala, but cannot. Definitely enlightens your perspective on the immigration issue! Everybody deserves an education and the ability to support themselves!

I feel very fortunate to be here. This is exactly what I have been praying for - to have an authentic look at Guatemalan life. It is also amazing to know that my money is going to do good, instead of bad (which is unfortunately usually the case when you buy something in the US). It´s such a relief to feel like you are living within the bounds of the natural environment and that your presence is a benefit rather than a harm.

It makes me realize how much we are also oppressed in the US... to rarely feel like "all is right in the world" because so many of our consumption patterns and lifestyle choices directly and indirectly result in the oppression of other people. I hate that, and don´t want to live my life like that any longer! Hallelujah! God has something better for all of us!

I have been reading a book on the life of Oscar Romero. In it they quote one of his counterparts, Herbert Anaya, a passionate fighter for peace and justice in El Salvador, as saying

"The agony of not working for justice is stronger than the certain possibility of my death. The latter is but one instant, the other is one´s whole life."

What that means to me is that the risk involved in transforming your life to help the poor is much less than the certain suffering of not working for transformation in the world. In other words,

"Life is risk. If I do not risk, I cannot be." (Pauto Freire)

I have a strong desire and conviction to continue to change my life to be more in line with what the earth can handle, accompanying the poor, and working towards justice. God blessed me with this towards the end of my time in Toronto, and I am thankful that He continues to give me energy and desire - instead of guilt - to change. Change is scarey, and I don´t know exactly what I´ll do.

Hope this makes some sense. Probably sounds a bit crazy, but if the way things are in this world is sane, then I hope that I´ve perceived as a lunatic! Would love any comments or input.

This week a group is staying at the Mountain School who are studying liberation theology, which is based around the teaching in the Bible that God loves the poor and wants them to be delivered from their suffering. A priest is coming who is going to speak on his efforts to alleviate the dire poverty in Guatemala. Pretty great that it worked out for me to stay, eh? Wonder who had a hand in that... :)


At 5:30 PM, September 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know my sister is crazy in a good way.

At 2:50 PM, September 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crazy is what crazy does!

At 5:24 PM, September 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No cousin of mine is crazy


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