Since I have been in Guatemala, I have remembered the dreams I have had each night. I usually never, EVER remember my dreams back at school or at home. One of my best friends on the trip, Erin, has done a lot of dream-analysis and so every morning I greet her with, "Hey, listen to this dream I had last night and tell me what it means!" Last night I had a particularly meaningful dream. In the dream, I was here in Guatemala and packing up to go back home. I was only going back home for a week or two, though, and I was talking to Kirsten (one of the Highland Support Project employees we have been working closely with) about my plans to return to Guatemala as soon as possible and start working with the Highland Support Project. As I was packing, I was stressing out because I didn't have all of my stuff together/packed and I was running out of time and needed to be heading to the airport. Through dream analysis, Erin and I deducted that it's obvious I have a desire to do this sort of work for the rest of my life. However, there is something that is still holding me back (my unpacked belongings). It makes a lot of sense. I've known for some time now that I want to, and NEED to, help those who are suffering, but I've made up every excuse in the book as to why I'm not right for the job: I have no money, no church backing me up and willing to support me, I'm scared to be away from my mom, and I'm just scared in general.
I mentioned that this trip was going to be a test for me, a test of whether or not I can actually do this. I won't lie, I was a little home/school-sick at the beginning of the trip, but now I'm having a hard time imagining being back in the States and leaving Guatemala behind. I've proved to myself that I can be away from everything I've ever known and start a life in another country. I've proved to myself that though I might not have the money or materials to make a huge difference, I have something more important: an overabundance of love and the desire to share it with the people who need it most.
Tonight we finished up the movie, El Norte, and Ben engaged us in a long and emotional conversation about the political and economical issues in Guatemala and basically asked us, as priveleged white Americans, "what the hell are you going to do about it?!" We all sat there in complete silence for a good five minutes and let it all really sink in. Different people came up with different practical ways to bring our knowledge of the oppressive situation in Guatemala back to the States with us to inform others. The whole time, though, I couldn't stop thinking about my dream and for the first time, I didn't want to make up an excuse as to why I couldn't do this kind of work for a living. Instead, something within me just clicked (cliche, I know) and the question in my mind went from "how can I?" to "how could I NOT?"
On our way back from our reforestation project today, Erin and I sat in the back of the bus cracking jokes and laughing hysterically. Even after everyone had gotten off the bus, we continued to sit there in tears from laughing so hard over the simplest jokes. I made a joke similar to "wow, we sure know how to clear a room... everyone probably thinks we are loco!" and Erin responded, "nah, we are just really happy." Anyone who knows me well knows that I have struggled with finding personal happiness for most of my life without ever feeling like I've attained it. Sure, I've had little glimpses and windows of happiness, but it's never stuck around for very long. That's when it hit me: I am truly happy here. There have been things that have challenged me and definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but in the end, I'm happy. And I'm growing. One of the questions Ben posed in his post-movie lecture tonight was, "now that you know the depth of the situation here in Guatemala, would you be happier going back to not knowing (like "ignorance is bliss" type deal) and go back to the States and go about your life shopping at Walmart and eating pizza?... Or would you rather know?" I think he was expecting us to wish for the cushioney/bubbly ignorance, but I found myself immediately thinking, "I can't go back to the States, back to ignorance, back to "happiness" while 90% of the children in Guatemala are suffering from malnutrition, or while mining companies from other countries (including the US) continue to come in to Guatemala and take all their precious resources without giving any thought to what it's doing to the environment, households, and health of the Mayan people, etc."
I want to be like the Padre I spoke of in my last entry... the one who stuck up for the poor and the oppressed. I was created with an overabundance of love and though I love my family and friends dearly, I have more love to give. It's all I have, but for these people, it's all they need.
I had intended to blog about the reforestation project we did today and also to talk a little bit about the main figures in charge of the Highland Support Project and AMA (the women's circle), but when I sat down to type, this is what came out. Today was a very life-changing day for me. It all started a dream and by the end of the day, my dream has become my reality, my "call" in life; so I felt led to share this with all of you readers.
My next blog will reflect a bit on what I had intended to write because I feel that that is equally as important and I need to express my feelings and gratitude toward the groups we are working with because they are simply amazing.
Tomorrow is our last day of work before heading to Antigua for another relaxing weekend. On Saturday, we will be headed back to the States. Time sure does fly by... even Mayan time apparently!