Thursday, February 15, 2007

Nicaragua 13: the dump

I just got back from La Chureca, the Managua city dump. It´s too recent and powerful an experience for me to be coherent about, but here´s what I´ll say. I would not like anyone I love to ever live there. And, Jesus calls me to love my neighbor as myself.

My impulse is to run back to my preschoolers who exhaust me and make me want to pull my hair out, and smother them with hugs and kisses and promise to never let them go back there. And cry. And give them candy and vegetables and clean water and love. And care way more about loving them than getting them to make a straight line by the door, and way more about keeping them in the dusty air that now seems so clean and the dusty ground that now seems so safe than about making them all sit down while we play duck duck goose.

Jesus, bring us liberation.
Christ, shower us with peace.
Spirit, send us justice.
God, save us.

There´s one more thing I can say. When we got off the top of the dump, it was such a relief to be in the lovely depressingly-poor Not Burning Smoky dump neighborhood down below. And I compare that to the poor folks in my neighborhood, and I compare that to my relatively wealthy host family in Nicaragua, and I compare that to my rundown house in Oberlin, and I compare that to any house I grew up in, and these are in order of least to most wealthy-- and I don´t understand.

Holy Spirit, hope to the hopeless.
Holy One, love to the unloved.


David Reese said...

I come to Jesus tired and pissed off, a little bit hungry and a lot not-okay. Knowing full well that I've never been more than a five minute walk from the memorial to the victims of the nanjing massacre. and seeing all the stuff I've seen, and not even having seen all the stuff that rachael's seen. and i come to jesus, and I say, "What the hell is this? Is there any hope of tranformation, of liberation? Can I get some divine action here? Is a piece of bread for the poor of the world too much to ask from you, from my country, from me? And Sue Francis left for Iraq today to be a medic, and what the hell do I do with that?"

And he looks at me for a long time, a look like nothing else. It is a look of sorrow and love and anger and brilliance. He just looks at me.

And every time he says the same thing: "Vamos a ver."

Rachael said...

Worldy wisdom says that there is no hope for liberation, for transformation, that the hope of taking folks from the dump and teaching them to become a Christian community is in vain. And yet I am here because said community needs a preschool teacher. The wisdom of heaven sings the Don Quixote song, Impossible Dream. And that´s what I have to go on right now. Also there´s a famous book called Prayer, Finding the Heart´s True Home, and it talks about crying as a form of prayer. I´ve been wondering why I often feel like crying, and maybe part of it is feeling Christ´s sorrow at the lifestyle of so many people I´m surrounded by down here, with roofs made of cardboard and fungus in between their toes and women abandoned by their children´s father and multiple sweat shops where people work 12 hour days with a half hour lunch break and make less than twice what I pay to take the bus commute every day. At least when I weep with Christ, I´m not alone.