Sunday, June 10, 2007

David in Nicaragua #5: why i didn't go to the dump

On my second day, someone invited me to go with their group to La Churreca, the dump outside Managua where current Chaucocente residents used to live. I’ve heard a lot about it; it’s a polluted and terrible place, and at least a hundred people still live there, forced to carve out a life amidst the danger and the smoke.

I didn’t go.

Part of it is because, it was my second day, and it felt like too much. But there was another, more significant reason, and I could have gone later if I wanted to. But I didn’t go.

I think it’s because of this: these days I’m feeling pretty in tune with the suffering of the world. Especially with CPE coming up this summer, I don’t feel like I’m going to need my eyes farther opened to the inhumanities of our world and our economic, political, and social systems. Is this legitimate: to feel like I don’t need to see more of the suffering? I think it’s important for lots of folks to see that suffering; I wonder if I’m just being self-righteous. Something like, “I’ve already reached this higher moral plane; I’ve already learned that lesson.”
But I think for me it’s more about, I don’t know, compassion fatigue. So instead of being in a place right now that demands I hear more of the suffering of the world, I think I’m in a place that is most appropriately served by signs of hopefulness. So instead of going to the dump, I hung out at Project Chaucocente, with kids who used to live in the dump. And now they don’t.

And I went to visit some Mennonites.


Anonymous said...

David, I think it's okay that you did not go to the dump and could recognize that it was not for you at that time. I think helping and working a Chacocente....I must be spelling it wrong.....was where you felt you needed to be and that's a blessing, too.

I did not know you had been sick in bed when you got home?

What is CPE? The reason I am confused is there is this thing that we register on for school classes and such and it's called CPE tracker.

The photos are absolutely beautiful.
Thank you for all you and all your fellow "bloggers" do for the world!


Anonymous said...

David-compassion fatigue is actually something that the former director of Amnesty talked about--he especially focused on the idea that while one needs to be aware one also needs to make sure to (I think these are his exact words) "cultivate a rich personal life" so as to be able to continue in service/helping/aiding in a positive way.
On a personal note, whenever I've been in similar situations, I've felt like benefit to me is outeweighed by the possibility that they might think I'm gawking.
-Kate O.