The Garbage I Found in Bolivia: Part Three

I admit that what I saw upon arrival in Montero was completely different than what I saw upon departure. At first I was disgusted by the dirt and garbage. But I learned valuable lessons from that initial reaction. And in a funny sort of way, I think their big garbage issue is connected to their big heart issue.
My conclusion about this and my new non-judgmental attitude about the filth surprised me.

Perhaps the garbage on the streets represent much more than poverty. It may be a symbol of priorities. Or a manifestation of contentmentPerhaps appearance is not as important as relationships.

Everywhere I went I saw evidence of this.

Remember in Part One, I said that the heat robs people of their afternoon. I no longer believe that. The noon siesta is not thievery at all, but rather a time for renewal and rejuvenation....a time to spend with family.

Also, in the evenings after work, families and friends would gather in the plaza

and visit or play chess with one another.

The beauty of the people are seen in their eyes and in their actions


The beauty of the people is seen in their dance and costumes
and in their cultural pride

LDS Stake Youth Dance Festival we attended

In Bolivia some in our group watched a mother have a C-section with little anesthesia and no grimmacing, we saw simple dinner tables outside under a grass roof and many other humble living conditions, our hotel workers washed heaps and heaps of laundry by hand, and ironed our sheets and towels every day, children played happily with used popsicle sticks and a threadbare soccer ball

children thrilled at the chance to color with sidewalk chalk we brought for them.

In reflection, I thought about my home in America. I remembered the little girl in Wal-mart who threw a tantrum because she couldn't have a motorized truck. I recalled the patient who yelled at our office staff for having to wait thirty minutes in an air-conditioned waiting room seated on a softly padded leather couch. Just a few days before my trip, I told my own mother I couldn't come over to her house to visit with friends who came to town because I had too much to do.

Do you ever find yourself rushing to and fro involved in insignificant things, grumbling at the inconvenience of conveniences, and demanding bigger, better, faster? I suddenly realized:

I am living with busy.
They are busy with living. 

Above all, this international adventure reminded me about relationships, use of time and priorities, humility and gratitude. I left with a fresh perspective.

Some of the garbage I found in Bolivia was not the rubbish on the street.

Ashamedly, it is what I found in my American heart.


kelli said...

Great post! What were you doing in Bolivia?

LGH said...

awesome, awesome, awesome. Great, great analogy. Loved this post and the remarkable pictures.

Mrs. Olsen said...

Beautifully written. I just read all 3 parts and I liked the process you went through. I too am often too busy with CRAP. Thanks!

Bridget said...

I laughed...I cried...I recognized a bit of my own shortcomings from the experience, as well. We learned more than we taught, didn't we?! As usual, Jen, a masterful post. Thank you for the creative person you are!


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