I need a switch for my brain.

Sometimes, I’d just like to turn it off.  (And sometimes, I’d like to turn it on…but this rant is about turning it off).

Especially in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep.  When I’ve read long enough to get several bleary eyed glares from my husband.  When I turn off the light and toss and turn and still can’t sleep.

My recent jumble of unorganized unsettling thoughts comes from my upcoming trip to Honduras and the Children of the Mountains report from ABC.

If you haven’t watched the ABC report, you should.  Although then you might end up sleepless and unsettled too.  But it contains a lot of hidden truth about our area.  This report concentrates in rural Kentucky, but don’t think it doesn’t happen around here.  I can take you to places in my county where homes are trailors set side by side and joined together with planks of plywood and a tarp to form a hallway.  Homes where there is no running water…so that even if you donate shampoo, soap, deoderant, and clean clothes to the boy in your class who smells bad enough to make you nautuous (and cause the other children to avoid or tease him) it can’t be used.  Trailers where a girl can fall through the floor (trying to jump over one hole…and causing another) gash her leg open, and still receive no medical care until she comes to school on Monday and limps her way to the school nurse with a maxi pad on her leg as a bandage.  Where little girls want nothing more than to have a baby, just so they have something or someone to love them because no one else does. She is successful…there are plenty of people to take what she’s offering and give her what she thinks she needs.  I saw her in the pediatrician’s office less than a year later.  Her clothes were dirty and torn and her baby was wearing a diaper and some adult socks.  In Janurary.

That is unsettling. That is not a third world country.  Those are our neighbors.

So in trying to prepare for this upcoming trip to Honduras, I do what I do with anything new.  Devour information on it.  Read everything I can about it.  So inaddition to cramming in spanish lessons, reading history and culture reports…I’ve found some great blogs of people who are living in Honduras.  Some as missionaries, some as residents (I’ll share those in a less confusing post…they are really good and worth reading).  One of my favorites is that of La Gringa.  She’s an American living in La Ceiba (the city we’ll be in) so I’ve spent a lot of time reading about her daily life.

This weekend she posted a blog about Voluntourists.  People who volunteer in third world countries as a vacation……and the waste and damage they do.  And posed the question:  Why don’t they just help at home?

Honestly, this is something that’s been troubling me some since I signed up for the trip.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about the adventure aspect of it.  Getting to travel outside the country (for the first time ever) feeling like I’m doing something GOOD.  Actually doing something I’ve dreamed about for awhile (missionary work) short term and as minor as my part in it may be.

So is that what I’m doing?  Is it a total waste?  Would I be better off spending my time raising money to send to long term missionaries in Honduras….or to help those in my local community.  I don’t know.  Probably.

I AM going though.  And I’m determined to do some good while I’m there.  Not to try and change people (I wouldn’t know anything about that and the last thing I want to do is be the ‘great white hope’ who tries to tell others how to live their lives) but at least bless them in some small way.

I already know that I will be more blessed and changed by this trip than anyone I come in contact with.  This is something I will remember for the rest of my life…something that has the potential to change my perspective and world view.  No one in Honduras is going to remember the week I was there. So am I doing this more for me than for them?

And what about here??  Yes, I do things here.  Is it enough though?  Could it ever be enough?  Could one person ever do enough to help?  Probably not.  At least not me…I don’t really have any truly helpful skills.  I went to a training session to work with a local domestic violence group.  What they really need are people to work the phones overnight.  And I just can’t do it.  They explained that so often there is nothing we can do, that the people who call don’t actually want help…they just want someone to cry to in the night.  I don’t think I could handle it.  So I collect donations that they need, bake things for parties when they have kids in the shelter, and offer help with fundraisers or babysitting.

A few years ago I had a GREAT idea for an afterschool program for local middleschoolers.  Unfortunately….it was a fail.  A pretty epic fail really.  All my research and planning for ONE parent to sign their kid up.  I thought parents would like a safe, free place for their kids to hang out afterschool and get help with homework or some music lessons or sports involvement….but it sank like a rock.

It still is a good idea.  I think.  I just don’t know how to make it work.  Or if I even should.  I mean, there’s already Boys and Girls club in many of the schools.  Why reinvent the wheel?  Maybe because from what I’ve seen, it’s still not enough??


This entry was published on February 24, 2009 at 11:30 am and is filed under Rants. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “I need a switch for my brain.

  1. Adrienne on said:

    Please don’t let the opinions of a few detract you from doing the good you know you can. I don’t subscribe to the “take care of our own first” philosophy, especially when it comes to children. Don’t let it get you down, just remain focused on what you’d like to accomplish in Honduras for now.
    When you’re through with this trip, you’ll know what you’re capable of a half-world away. Just think what you’ll be able to do at home when you put your passion to it?
    “Could one person ever do enough to help? Probably not. At least not me…I don’t really have any truly helpful skills.”
    First of all, liar liar pants on fire. You don’t have any truly helpful skills? You? Reeeeallllly? Psh, you just listed four at the end of that paragraph, and I know you have more.
    No one person can ever do enough to help. Not “probably not”. No. You and I know that great things happen when people come together, when each person does the best they can; they bring their own unique talents and efforts to the table. Every little bit counts.
    I’m rooting for you, hon. I know you’ll do great. ((HUGS))

  2. Hi. Chanced upon your blog. About that afterschool programme you tried… Well, I have the same experience too – half the world away in India. I tried to start an afterschool programme last summer (May 2008). I was expecting a HUGE enrollment. Less than 5 turned up. It was a very rude shock (especially because I left my job to start this!). But I went ‘back to the drawing board’ (had no other option, really :-)). I am cooking up what I think is a much better programme now. Planning to launch this summer. Try again, please.

  3. Never doubt that a thoughtful, committed individual can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

    Seems to fit nicely. You have mad skills in many areas – music, organization, children to name a few. You are very crafty and can do many home repairs/remodels. You care.

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