Tuesday, February 22, 2011

i want more


I saw a quote today where someone living in poverty described themselves the following way:

We are cripples; we are afraid of everything; we depend on everyone.*

I almost cried because those feelings are so real to us right now. I am in no way saying our situation as immigrants is identical to actually experiencing poverty. But, on a much smaller scale, our experience here is depicted in those words.

Most days I feel crippled. Most days, with no knowledge of Spanish and the customs of Peru, I am afraid of everything outside of my front doors. We depend on others to get anything done right now.

I took so much for granted while in the States. So many resources at my disposal. I recently needed to develop and send an important picture to the States. In California, I would have simply uploaded the picture, jumped in my car an hour later, and picked up the picture. Then I would have run by the post office and stuck it in the mail. I would have spent 30 minutes, at the most, on the whole affair.

In Peru, I depend on someone else to tell me where to get pictures developed. I walk 20 minutes to my friend's house so she can take me to the picture place and tell them in Spanish what I need. Once I get the pictures my friend takes me to the post office to mail my package. When I am finished I walk (and sweat profusely) for about 15 minutes looking for a taxi. I call Blake twice to get clear directions in Spanish so that I can tell the taxi driver how to get to our house. I finally get a cab and come home.

Obviously, this was still not a huge ordeal but it took me three times as long to accomplish this task. Not to mention the physical and mental exertion it took.

Bottom line: Getting a picture developed and mailed was my crowning achievement for Monday. I don't even have an achievement for today.

So, I take what it feels like to be crippled by lack of resources and try to imagine what that feels like for a lifetime. I try to imagine what it would be like if one of the resources I was lacking was money.

I go to bed exhausted every night. I want to cry when handed the simplest of tasks. I feel completely overwhelmed and out of my league. I want to give up.

I feel all of this and I have money. I know this is temporary. We will pay to go to language school. We will buy a car. We will pay to have a tutor. Through no doing of our own, we have the ability to change our situation.

I cannot really imagine what it feels like to know that you cannot change your situation. To be born into poverty with no resources. No hope. To live on the streets or in a tent city. This debilitating feeling following you all day long, whispering in your ear that you are worthless. That you will never amount to anything.

I know I should be thankful to have a tiny glimpse into the mind of someone in living in poverty. Overwhelmingly, though, I feel guilty and angry. I want the lies of worthless to be crushed. I want hope for those living in poverty. I want more for this little girl who spends her days on the street trying to sell water with her mother in hopes of putting food on the table.


*Quote from a study published in Voices of the Poor.


Stephanie said...

First time I have read a friends blog in.... (too ashamed to say.) We have been SO blessed by your family. Reading your post is just another reason why I like you, scratch that, LOVE ya. I know all of those crippling feelings and feelings of guilt and anguish for some of the people we work with and talk to on a daily basis. God is good though and I can still say that a year into it. Thanks for blessing me with your words tonight. Your "friend"

Amanda said...

This was beautiful. Thank you.

Breanne said...

this is fantastic. i love that God is giving you that perspective. as much as the cards life has handed me have been tough these last few weeks, i realize that i have a ridiculous amount to be thankful for and so much that i take for granted. continuing to pray for you. can't wait to see you in a couple months. started looking for flights :)

Sarah said...

What an incredible reminder. Thank you so much for opening up your heart and sharing. Very humbling in my boxed in world of unnecessary complaints. We are praying for you guys in this new journey.

Anonymous said...


I think what you and your family is doing is courageous and brave and I cannot imagine myself doing something so unselfish. So don't take this question the wrong way - I mean no sarcasm or ill will - just an honest question - when you were planning your move to Lima over the past year or so, why didn't you consider learning Spanish as part of your preparation. I think it would've helped make your transition less painful.

Amy Lou said...

I can't even remeber how I found your blog, but I love reading it and seeing the amazing journey you're on. And I can relate to a lot of it. I moved to Uganda over a year ago and it's been the most amazing thing, but also the HARDEST thing I've ever done. Everything is new, everything is hard. When we got here we were too scared to leave the compund, but now we're working in 3 slums and seeing unbelievable things!! It's so worth it!!! Don't know if that really helps but just wanted to encourage you to keep going, keep loving because God is going to do huge things!!Praying that you and your family experience more of Holy Spirit through this transition ! I admire how brave you are!! Lots of love to you!

Sarah said...

Yes, it definitely helps to hear from people further down the road! Thankfully God has given me a huge peace recently and I have been able to keep the bigger picture in mind.

I'm not offended at all by your question. To answer, we were offered and accepted the job in Peru in August. That barely left enough time to sell everything we owned, travel to say good-bye to all of our family and friends (we won't be back in the States for a long time), homeschool 2 kids, raise a lot of money, and Blake still had a full-time job. That left no time for learning Spanish, so that is why Blake is currently in language school and I will be joining him in 2 weeks once our kids start school. As hard as the transition has been, I think it has been really good for us to be in this position of dependence. It has been very humbling.

Kim said...

Such an amazing blog you've put together, and I enjoy reading it. I connected to it through your daughter's well project; another amazing act of God's love! Keep laying your concerns and questions at the feet of God, and He will continue to bless you. He won't give you anything that can't be used for your good or His ultimate glory! Praying for your family down there in the Southern Hemisphere; where I'm sure summer is nice and hot right now! ;) Hope you'll all have visitors before too long; family, something, to enjoy! God bless!

Jules said...

Sarah - I love reading your blog! We have a couple of mutual friends - Brooke and Scott - and Brooke's told me of your story. Somehow I ran across your blog and have been following since. What an amazing story you and Blake have! We all have our stories of being just where God calls us, but your story is truly one of faith. You've taken that leap and are truly trusting in the Lord's faithful provision. Thank you for sharing your story! I look forward to continue reading...

Sarsparilla said...

Hi there, it's been really interesting reading your story, and my heart goes out to you for the difficulties that you have had. I lived in a very remote part of northern Peru (Amazonas) from 2006 until 2010, and although I am a dyed in the wool Peru-lover, I know also that I underestimated by several million fathoms just how demanding moving country and culture really is.

The anonymous commenter who mentioned learning Spanish is on the right tip, however, this is your fastest and easiest route to independence. If you have to wait to start classes, grab yourself a decent self teaching book and make people around you practice with you. It's not a difficult language to learn basic communication in, but it is another thing entirely to communicate at a level that doesn't infantilise you. I don't want to think about you being in the ER with no language skills! Really - start sooner. You will never ever regret having done so. Spanish doesn't happen by osmosis, but it will bring you and your family a lot of joy and a lot of true independence.
Wishing you the best of luck.

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