We’ve only been back a little over a week, but our daily to-do list has wasted no time kicking back into gear. After getting our life and house back in order, we’ve begun an intensive concentration on language as a team so that we can get back into island life without missing a beat. I will also begin teaching English very soon, so I have been working to complete the necessary preparations (lesson plans, coordinating with the administrators to ensure that the classes will have books, cds, white boards, etc).
Although things are busy, however, we are extremely glad to be home. It is always a great feeling to know that our friends here have missed us.
Recently, though, I am reminded about how hard life is here in the islands. The soccer team that I play with recently spent a day pouring cement in order to help pay for the expenses of the team. While watching the older men carry 50+ pound bags of cement back and forth, up and down stairs, one of my friends jokingly said, “you can always tell who the old people are here, because they are so short!”
I was reminded of this again as a boy from one of the younger soccer teams stole some money from us this week (this is extremely taboo in this culture, and can result in public shaming, beatings, etc).
Wednesday night was themost painful reminder. One of the young men who we call brother dropped in to eat with myself and some friends. What normally would have been a joyful time spent catching up instead was saddening and painful, as he recounted his money difficulties, inability to find a job, and how the family of his fiance was against their union because of his inability to provide. My efforts to encourage him or to think of alternatives were useless, not because that they were bad ideas but because it seemed that his mind was made up that we would be able to magically fix his problems for him.
Unfortunately, because of the history of previous work that has been done here by foreigners, people often view us (or more specifically, our money) as the solution to their difficult life. This is an unhealthy dependence. We are here to help, and if it would solve any problems we would give every last cent we had. Unfortunately, all that this would do is promote their dependence on us and make the problem worse.
Please join us in prayer that these people would come to know the only God who will provide for all of their needs. He is the only one who can give them peace, joy and contentment in their difficult circumstances.