Plane on tarmac, Guayaquil International Airport, Ecuador (8/11, 9:15 a.m.)

[the housing crisis nearing resolution, we return to the Ecuador journal posts]

( transcribed journal entry from 8/11/08, 9:15 a.m. )

Last night’s program was pretty good. The drama the kids put on was much improved over last year (we could even hear them most of the time!)– a cute story similar to Solomon’s, where a couple of girls are fighting over a doll and one is willing to let it go so as not to hurt it. Then, two traditional dance numbers for two different age groups.

Following the dance performances, we had the presentation of the backpacks/school supplies for the kids in the tutoring program. José, the six year old in my house, was asking when he could get his backpack. Unfortunately, there are only fifty or so kids in the tutoring program each year, and so far my family’s kids haven’t received scholarships for it. I know there’s no way to help everybody, but it always seems more unfair when it’s your kids who don’t get the backpacks.

The other thing that is breaking my heart is Andres [see sermon transcript from 8/17]. He’s sweeter than ever and such a gentle, artistic soul. He tried his hand at working this past year at the port, but it didn’t work out for him. The thought of that gentle spirit broken by such hard labor just kills me; it eats me up inside. I wish I could fix it for him, and for his family, too. I hate not being able to make everything ok.

Laughter and hugs with the elusive Cris

Anyway, after the program, we had a brief goodbye on the soccer field– not at all like last year’s despedida. A few tears, but not bad (for me in fact that’s really good!). We all went back to the house and the little ones went to bed. I stayed up late again with Andres, Carlos, Diego, Liz, Eddy and the other Carlos (Eddy’s cousin) for una ronda de los gatchos (well, that’s what it sounds like, anyway), another round of jokes. About halfway through our joke-telling, Cristian walked by on his way home and we convinced him to stay and tell jokes with us. And so I got to hang out with my best buddy from last year, if only for a little while. And boy did we get one another laughing, and once again, I was quite proud of all those Spanish classes as I translated line-for-line for Liz.

Eventually, the crowd thinned down, but I stayed up a little longer with my bros, Andres and Cris, who switched from jokes to their ‘real life’ experience with ghosts, something for which I’m glad my language barrier left me a little out of the loop!

I finally dragged myself off to bed. I did most of my crying a couple of nights ago, so I went to sleep pretty well. Fortunately, I had packed my bags yesterday afternoon, because I slept right through my watch-alarm.

Andres and his hermanita say goodbye.

Andres and his hermanita say goodbye.

A quick breakfast and some goodbyes to the sleeping ones, whom I kissed on the cheeks. Little dear José woke up and hugged me tightly, not letting go until I had to pry him off so I could leave for the bus at Mi Cometa. Andres, Carols (my ever-faithful bodyguard), Eddy and Mami Isabel accompanied me to the bus, where we all put our arms around each other and shed no small amount of tears. Andres was saying over and over, “mi hermana, mi hermana, mi sister,” in both languages.

All too soon, I was on the bus (with a bloody toe because someone stepped on me!), and we were blowing kisses to one another, waving furiously as the bus pulled away, until we turned a corner and they were gone–again–from my sight.

Can you see them waving to me through the stupid window reflection?

Can you see them waving to me through the stupid window reflection?

Upon arrival at the airport, we discovered that my traveling buddy, D, was indeed not on the bus; his family got the time wrong! He arrived at the airport about a half hour behind us, having been driven by his family– they pushed the car out of the living room, where they park it so it doesn’t get stolen, and had to push it down the road a bit to get it to start, but they managed to drive him to the airport. I felt a bit bad because I hadn’t seen him all morning and I didn’t think he’d responded to roll call, but I was so busy waving at my family, I didn’t speak up. Like me, D has a little girl to get home to, otherwise, I’d have envied him the extra time in the barrio.

Best friends, part II

I’m a pacifist, people!

I resist violence, seek a third way, turn the other cheek. I think ‘just war’ is an oxymoron (as war is neither filled with justice nor limited to ‘just’ war), and that even violence done in self defense or in defense of the powerless does harm to God’s body (which may or may not be a necessary evil in a broken world).

And yet, there is something so endearing about how many of you are prepared to ride into battle on my behalf, whether against an individual or a system. I’ve had offers for frying-pan attacks, physical assault, and two separate offers by two separate engineers (watch out for those guys; they may seem quiet and geeky, but they have access to people with nuclear devices!) for cruise missiles and/or carpet bombs unleashed over the state of Vermont, which I think might defeat the purpose of trying to move there, though I can’t be sure.

I must respectfully decline the offers of violence, but your intensions are noted!

However, I can’t risk you doing harm to my new landlord and lady, who are currently reviewing a credit check and plan to hand Husband the keys to a lead-paint-free, energy-efficient house later this week.

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