Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Day from Eviltown

Some days with one's "angelic" children can turn out damn near awful. My kids woke up and irritated each other nonstop for 2 hours. Time-outs were being tossed around like yellow cards in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
I don't have any $ to buy food for a couple days and our coffers are low (by American standards), and for some reason I'm anal about having full cupboards. So, there were 2 things to stress me out.
Then the hose from the washer came loose and sprayed water all over the kitchen while I'm trying to get out the door with the kids. I finally herd the whining urchins into their seats and get into the driver's seat. And the DAMN CLUTCH sinks to the floor. I barely restrained all the F words about fly from my lips as I trudged back into the house.
So, I'm about to crack and my dear spouse quickly bleeds the line so we can be on our way. The kids had a great time at the Children's Museum and Ruth didn't even argue when I said it was time to go. Caedmon refused to walk to the car...picking him up would be bad parenting cause he wouldn've won (I'm stubborn too). So, Ruth and I pretended to walk to the car and hid behind a bush (I swear this is good parenting too). He screamed bloody murder as he angrily took a step forward every 2 minutes. I finally got him to walk most of the way before he lay down on the pavement. It was go time. I stuck him under my arm and booked it to the car.
You wanna hear the most irritating sound in the world? I don't, but that 20 minute car ride was unavoidable. He was a pissed 2 year old screaming at the top of his lungs like one possessed. And part of me thinks he was.
And as I took deep cleansing breaths in the car listening to "Caedmon's Call" (ironic, huh) mingled with my son's crying jag I thought of humanity. How often have I had to move forward because of life circumstances and gone whining and kicking? I wonder if those around me (God and my own kids included) ever want to take deep cleansing breaths and turn up the praise?

Monday, August 21, 2006

So, I'm back from about a learning experience. There's the usual talk of foreign food giving me the runs and foreign driving being a contact sport, and then there's the differences.

Glue Boys- We hung out in Masaya with a cadre of boys who roam the streets. They stay high most of the time on the most god-awful smelling glue my nose has ever met. We decided to take them out of their element for a day and piled 12 of them into the van with us. We drove to a rain forest preserve and had a park ranger take us around a loop to see monkeys, parrots and waterfalls. Think of your own kids and how much they get to enjoy...these street hardened boys may have had their only chance to be fascinated by nature that day. They all lit up like kids on Christmas. Their manners showed up and they were calm. Only 3 of the 12 felt the need to continue sniffing glue that day. It engages my tender mother heart when I see these 9 to 15 yr-old men-children running in a pack on Nicaraguan streets.

The other comfort-jarring event came in the barrio's by the dump. There is a city built from scrap wood, metal and kiddie pool linings on the edge of Managua's dump. These families send their men up on the mountain of garbage to forage for survival...EVERY DAY. There is no other existence for them. We took packs of beans & rice to many mothers in the barrio during the day. The locals told us it's much safer to hand out food when the men are away. I figured it just got a little more chaotic. Our leader decided to drive up to where the men were scavenging for their livelihood. It felt like a scene from "Dawn of the Dead" soon as the men spotted the van their heads turned in unison and an animal hunger for whatever we had in our van caused them all to sprint for the car. Bodies mashed against the side of the van as we tossed what rice bags we had left out of the window and spun away.

What does one say after seeing this? How do I reconcile all the joyfully poor Nicaraguan believers I met with the pouty, selfish, depressed believers that live in the states? I tell you, for the first time I have a blatant, country-sized example of how material things don't mean shit. How do I keep that at the forefront of my brain?