Monday, August 16, 2010

Battleground in Bolivia

So, I  have spent the last week battling poverty in Bolivia and I am covered in battlewounds.  I look a bit like an over ripe and bruised piece of fruit when naked.  There is a bruise developing on my foot from where a jumper seat in a van got slammed down on me, my legs are covered in bruises as are my arms.  I think most of them are from shovels and rocks while digging and filling trenches for the water project we worked on. 

Everyone here wants me to say something profound about this experience, and I think that will come, but right now, I am worn down and beat up and there isn´t much I can think of to say.  I am leaving La Paz in an hour and when I am done with the flight, I will see Tom.

We hiked a mountain here that reminded me of Tom some.  Day 2 in Huancuyo started with a three mile hike that began at 13,000 ft and ended somewhere closer to 14,000 ft.  We didn´t know we would be hiking that far.  We were going to lay pipe and fill trenches and we thought we would just have to go about .5 miles from camp to a white church where the pipe was stored.  When we got there we were told we had to hike to a farther point and when we got there, we had to go to the top of the mountain right to the water source.  I was slathered in sunscreen and covered in layers of clothing, but I still got burnt.  I am in pretty good shape, but still found it hard to breathe.  I didn´t know we would be gone so long and I had no water.  I worked for a few hours like that and found myself thinking of Tom.  

The specific instance I remembered was a hike up above Yosemite when we climbed to the top of a mountain and there was no trail.  I got stuck in a rockslide and everytime I moved, the ground fell out from under me.  I called for help and Tom started working his way over to where I was.  We were too far apart for me to see him and I didn´t know he was coming.  I got tunnel vision.  That is the only time that has ever happened and I don´t like it, but it did make it so my entire focus was centered on boulders stably embedded in the ground and I made my way from one to the other with the ground falling out from under me as I went.  Just as I was about safely out of it, Tom appeared and took my hand and teased me about finding the most fun way up the mountain.  He stayed with me while I was at the top and the helped me pick a safer path down.  As I thought about Tom, I knew I would survive the hike and the trench digging.

As I filled in trenches, I thought about a decision I made a while ago to bury my weapons like the Lamanites.  As I looked at my bruises, I thought about that decision again. And I thought about Michael a bit and how when we got in a bike crash, his first thought was about my safety even though his own hand got smashed.  He was more concerned about my own bruises than his own.

 There are big enough battles that leave bad enough wounds that we don´t need to create any more.  It is not really the place of one person to fight with another.  We have disease and poverty and hunger to fight.  Maybe the best way we can fight them is simply through kindness.

I am grateful to have brothers who show me how this is done.


laura said...

i'm so glad to have you back! i am grateful to have a sister who shows me the way! how i've missed you, babe.

Carroll said...

so glad you are closer to me. wished you were going to N.Y. with us. It would be a blast. Sure you don't want to try for a stand by in San Diego?

laura said...

yes! stand by! stand by!