Monday, January 2, 2012

If the Blind Lead the Blind...

Well, Jesus said it, so it must be true. "If the blind lead the blind, then they both fall in a ditch and are lost." That's essentially been Hermana Lund and I all this week. I'm so used to following Hermana Brown around La Yuca because she knew it like the back of her eyelids, and so because Hermana Lund was here for a transfer before me, I keep feeling like she should know where we're going. And then I remember we were both whitewashed to the area she hadn't been contacting before, and it's starting to dawn on me that it might behoove me to pay attention. So I'm gonna give it a go. Street names and directions have never been my thang. As my family loves to say, I couldn't find my way out of a paper bag. It might depend on how transparent to paper is. But I digress...
Anyway, so let's just say Hermana Lund and I have had quite the time getting to know Azua, meeting the locales, you know, the whole missionary thing. Or maybe you don't. I should have explained this earlier to all the non-mormon readers out there (better late than never?) But there are 6 weeks in a transfer, and most people only stay with a companion or in an area for about 3-4 transfers. But there are always exceptions. Hermana Brown will have been in La Yuca for a good hearty 7 transfers by the time this one ends around January 31st. That's the mission for you; it's always never what it seems. And contacting refers to going around door to door and asking people if we can come back the next day to share a brief message. Or it can mean just inviting someone on the street to church. Either or. So know you know a little more than before, in theory, por lo menos.
But speaking of the blind, I met a very interesting sightless man named Cesar. We were at the home of the 16 year old Young Woman's president's house for a visit, and he happened to be there. And yes, I said she is the president of the ENTIRE program, not just of the Beehives (12-13) Mia Maids (14-15) or Laurels (16-17). Yeah, that's how small the Azua branch is. Well, children are our future, after all. And she's darn good at her job. But back to Cesar. He showed us how his walking stick works, which was sorta cool. And he knew I'm still fairly new to the mission, so he tried to speak slowly to make sure I understood everything he was saying... especially the part where he proclaimed his dislike for the whole "women's liberation" thing. First of all, he was speaking to Amalia, the Young Woman's president, my companion, and myself, so I don't think he knows much about playing to your audience. And he's lucky he's blind, because according to Hermana Lund, my face was all sorts of interesting expressions. He was definitely barking up the wrong feminist. And then he had the gall to talk about how poorly handicapped people are treated. Women should be slaves to mediocrity, but maybe we could give handicapped people more rights. Drivers permits for the blind, anyone? Well, I guess we'll just all go down in the ditch together. Whew. I feel a bit better. It's good to know some things will never change. Like my belief in my own humanity, despite my gender. Ok, done for reals this time.
But really, it just wasn't my week for handicapped people. We're teaching this guy named Mario, and he is in a wheelchair. He was in some sort of motorcycle accident about a year ago or something. He loves reading the Book of Mormon, and repeating verbatim all the things that he has read. He started from the beginning of Nephi all the way until they set sail for America. And he gets very emotional about, well, everything, his readings included. So I was more or less trying to follow everything he said, and thought I was doing pretty well. So I decided to ask him where exactly he was in his readings so we could leave him another scripture to read that he hadn't already read. Well apparently, he took this to mean I hadn't listened to his long-winded rehash, so he gave me a bit of a boche (lecture). All I understood was when he said "Fijese!" which just means pay attention. Luckily, I didn't really realize he was lecturing me at the time (my companion courteously filled me in when we got home that night), or I would have gotten offended at the fact that he'd gotten offended. The vicious chain. But the communication barrier is starting to wear on me a bit. I am improving, but progress is slow and hard to see when you're in the middle of it all. But that's just how you have to take on life... with mucha lucha.
Oh, and before I forget, I owe my Noni a Happy Birthday shoutout. Happy 25th birthday Noni! And to both grandparents, a very happy anniversary. If I could inculcate a smidge of the success of your marriage into some of the relationships out here, we'd be onto something.
Well, as a good friend of mine would say, take luck. Take it, care for it. Do what you will. And I will see you all next week.
Love and amor,
Hermana Sweeney

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