Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dirt Poor and Happiness

I followed Clay and our four kids down the narrow, muddy trail, noting the old mattress springs that were used for fencing. Many “homes” were located down this trail, but I had no idea the conditions.

We crossed under someone’s roof…they had no floor poured or walls built yet. Just a roof. The man was there, chopping firewood, but obviously he lived elsewhere for the time being.

 We snaked our way down another trail, behind a simple house. And then we entered into Victor and Felicity’s home. If only I could have taken a picture with my mind’s eye to share so that you could truly understand the meaning of poverty! The tin roof was supported by tree posts.  On one post, they drove in nails to hang their coffee mugs. The walls were red and blue tarps. They had hung wooden crates against the “wall” from the top support beam, forming kitchen cabinets. Their hanging “pantry” contained their few dishes and three boxes of milk. Their floor was uneven dirt.

 They offered us a couple of stumps, a hammock and a kid-sized chair to sit on. As we visited, Victor and Felicity (her name means “happiness”) shared so much with us about their lives, their families, and their home. I’ve lived in this village for a year, and yet had never been invited into a home quite like this one.

Victor and Felicity have three sons and are expecting child #4 any day. They raise rabbits, but mostly because one of many organizations came in and gave away rabbits and all the materials that they would need—a rabbit hutch with watering system, bags of food, etc. The idea being that the people can eat or sell the meat. The problem…meat isn’t a common element in the diet.

In spite of all of their hardships, Victor and Felicity are happy, a smile ever present on their faces. Victor told us that they were offered “piso firme,” one of many government programs to pour concrete floors in the homes. But they refused because they say life is easier with a dirt floor. When it rains, as it often does, water runs across their floor. Victor simply grabs a shovel and digs a channel for the water to run out the other side of their home. He says that if they had a concrete floor, they would have to mop the water up and it wouldn’t dry. A dirt floor soaks up water…or anything the kids spill. And when the kids come in with dirty shoes, you don’t have to worry about cleaning up behind them.

Can you imagine? They prefer to “live simply.”

From my American way of thinking, I was greatly saddened at first. Just look around you as you read this…what do you see? A computer?  TV? Carpeted floors? A comfy couch and a matching arm chair? A book shelf or two, full of books or knick-knacks? Well, that’s what I see in my house in the village.

So often I find myself distracted by the stuff in my life. It’s good stuff. And sometimes necessary stuff. But it has a tendency to interfere with the time I spend with my Lord.

Please pray for Victor and Felicity. Pray that we can minister to them where they are, without expecting any changes in them except their hearts. Pray for Victor as he considers going to another city to work for a time. And pray for Felicity as she raises three boys, plus her baby.


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