So many of my blogs have been about us and what our life has been like here. There have been so many changes, so many challenges. As much as that is the case, we live in an area that is faced with far more challenges than we are. Each day we see only a portion of the hardship of those who live here. The people here are amazing. They are strong in so many ways. Here is just a glimpse…….
Here is one locals house that we pass buy regularly. Built with millet stocks and mats, fabric bits and whatever other resources that can be found. These houses are packed full with family members. Often times their beds are just a mat on the ground. Not all the local houses are this rustic. However, they are not to the standard that many of us would even want to camp in. Some families will live off $100 a month, they are the rich.
Laundry is often done in the river. It is not clean and pristine water either. There are times when I fill up our washing machine and the water coming out is orange….filled with sand, that is still much cleaner than the river water. What I am constantly amazed with is how they still get their whites so white. Dirty water, much scrubbing without a scrub board, homemade soap equals clean whites. This is truly amazing. Clothes are then placed on top of bushes and trees to dry, or just stretched out on the ground for the sun to dry.
As the cool season begins to settle in, we have noticed the air to be quite smokey. As the temperature drops to the low 20’s at night, the locals build fires to stay warm. Just around the corner from us there is a big garbage field. We have seen many animals grazing here… goats, sheep, cows, and dogs. In the open area around this dumping grounds children play soccer. This area is where household garbage is dumped. On a regular basis, portions of it are set to burn. It is not the most pleasant smell. There are nights when the power has gone out, the air is hot, stuffy and smokey from these burns piles and I want to grumble and complain. Each time I do, I am convicted to Praise God for all He has given to us. To be thankful for the house that has been provided for me.. I have fans, I have power, I have water, I have a bed and blankets…. what do I have to complain about?
Sometimes when we are out and about, I think, it would be interesting to spend a day in the life of a local. Just to see how hard their life is. To see how they do things. To see what their days are really like. Then I allow myself to process what I have seen and learned already, and I decide that my heart really wouldn’t be able to handle that and I realize how I have already built a wall around my heart. I have already learned to wear blinders and not fully notice what is going on around me. If I let myself process it, feel it, the pain of it would be more than I could handle. I realize how weak I am. How fickle I can be. I think of all I have and I praise God for what He has done for me and for all He has blessed us with. When I think how hard and exhausting life is for us here, I am quickly humbled when I allow myself to register the life of the locals. My life is a beautiful life. An ‘easy’ life. A rich life.
Then I head to my escape and I start looking and noticing some of the crazy things that go on here. I find something that makes me laugh. I think of all I have and I praise God. As we are driving about we notice the vehicles and the big trucks loaded high. The camels and donkeys that are loaded down transporting goods from one area to another and I hear from the back seat… “How much wood could a wood truck chuck if a wood truck could chuck wood.” “I think we should get a camel.”