And how. I´ve always been opposed to people who whine a lot about hurting, especially when I suspect that it´s not that serious. Like if someone accidentally bumps someone, and that person acts like they were just punctured with a mighty spear. Not necessary, unless it´s a Britney Spear, and then I´d be annoyed too. But the point is, instead of becoming more compassionate, I may be becoming less so, and it´s all thanks to a little sickness called the gripe (gre-pe). If I haven´t complained about this before, I shall allow myself to do so now, and if so, well, the cathartic effect remains the same.
Anyway, the gripe is dangerous, deadly illness, and takes many forms. Supposedly, it´s the equivalent of the common cold, and the key word here is common. Someone, without fail, will have the gripe any given day of the week, especially when it comes time to commit to something. There´s the "I couldn´t read the pamphlet you gave me" gripe. There´s the "it´s Sunday" gripe. There´s the, "oh crap, the missionaries showed up on my doorstep" gripe. The classic "my toe, tongue, eye (insert appendage of choice here) hurts gripe." I love that gripe is Spanish is gripe, or complain, in English, because that´s a perfect translation. Everyone here is constantly in pain, especially when it´s convenient. I was too ill to read or go to church but I felt bully well enough to run a 5k later that day. I´m just kidding. A lot of people here wouldn´t ever run a 5k because they have the crazy leg or the wobbly tooth, or who the heck knows what else. I can´t get over it. Sometimes in church, during lessons, people will randomly break in with some comment about how eternal families remind them of how bad their arm was hurting the other day. Maybe it´s annoying to me because I walk like every step was going into my retirement fund and my feet will probably have to be amputated when I get home. I just don´t feel like I need to knock on doors and say "hi, I´m a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and my dogs are barking. Seriously, get me a chair or something, I´m hanging on by a thread here." The idea of allowing pain to slow me down is not an enjoyable one. No one is invincible, but it´s amazing what someone can do when they "put their courage to the sticking place," as good ol´ Shakespeare would say. Often times, when we pray for the strength to go on or to bear the burden we have, our weakness can become strengths and more often than not, blessings for other people. Our pain might makes us more relatable to someone else who goes through the same thing. And we learn something we wouldn´t have learned otherwise. It doesn´t mean we have to enjoy the stings, aches, and sores, but while waiting for them to heal, we can go about doing good in spite of it all, because really, what other option is there?
But even though complaining technically doesn´t fix the problem, it makes for interesting table talk. Apparently, I have been cursed for leaving Azua. It wasn´t done punishing me yet, so it would seem. The luggage problem I mentioned having, well, I´m gonna have it now for the third week because the people who were going to bring it, well, didn´t. Which means I get to use clothes as bed sheets and pretend I have three skirts I like so much that I wear them interchangeably ever other day. But it´s really the shoes I miss because I´ve been wearing the same pair for two weeks now and they smell like Satan. So, I bought another pair at a Pay less. In my former life, the in durability of Pay less shoes made me scoff them to scorn. Now, I will wear them as though they were Pradas. But it´s not just my luggage that Azua has held back from me. You may recall that I didn´t have a whole lot of water in Azua my last two transfers there. Well, going on for about 5 days here in Quisqueya (Key-skay-ya), we haven´t had water either, although now that I´m living with all Latins, they actually know what to do about it (a.k.a. demand that the Elders who work in the office bring it to us at 10:00 at night). Whatever gets it to us. But because some joker won´t pay their part of the bill, all of us suffer. I don´t get it. I´m pretty sure in American, people would be out with their torches and pitchforks if such a scenario occurred there. But in America I am not, and if these people in our apartment complex don´t care about water, I guess I shouldn´t either. I mean, it´s not like it´s a necessity of life or anything. But we´ll just hope in the next couple days, the curse will be lifted, or I may very well be showering with water bottles.
Speaking of water systems, the area where my companion and I are contacting is having it´s sewer system redone. This means that all the manholes have been removed and there are huge open holes of murky water every few feet, and sometimes, men inside them, literally shoveling the crap out of them. It smells wonderful over there. But don´t worry, that doesn´t mean everyday life has to stop. There are still young children playing marbles in the middle of it, and if their marbles land in a pile of well, fecal, all the better. Who doesn´t like a challenge? Thankfully, they´re starting to cement it all up, but for people who say they´ve really stepped in it, have I got story for you!
Lest anyone think that my life is a big cesspool right now, I say, not so. Pro of the week: I get to wear real tropical flowers in my hair, suckers! It´s pretty nice. When the mood strikes me (and it always does), I can just pluck a flower, whether from ground or bush, and put it directly into my hairdo. And the variety of colors available go well with any outfit. Oh, other pro: having three baptismal dates set with three inquisitive, interesting teenagers, Charlin, Carlos, and Robbinson. More to follow on them later. Well, if my memory will serve.
And lastly, a big fat pro is being in the area that has all the fast food. I´m a junk food junkie at heart. I´ve heard tell that when someone gets high, all food immediately tastes like heaven-sent manna. I´m here to tell that all you have to do is go to a country where the spiciest flavor they have is table pepper, and then eat a frosty. I can almost guarantee the effect would be the same, and probably more enjoyable, though I couldn´t tell you for sure. Oh, well, the point is, eat a frosty. They´re delicious.
Ok, I lied. The real lastly is that I have two new places to add to my growing list of strange places to teach an investigator. 1). In a banca, which is like a really tacky place to buy lottery tickets. I taught with in the back of one with Hma. Lund awhile back and it was distracting, to say the least. But not as distracting as teaching in a barber shop while the barber is in the middle of his hack job. You may insist you can come back later, but this guy can multi task. Luckily, we did wait at least until the client had left. I tried not to let the list of different hair styles distract me from my overall objective. Believe the mission was semi-successful.
Well, I have fought a good fight these week. Being without water is hard. Being around so many fast food options is hard. Having the "I´m tired from walking all over the D.R." is hard. But just one step at a time, and eventually I´ll end up... somewhere. Somewhere good. Because life is a highway, and I´m gonna walk it all day long.
Continuously moving, (and advising you to do likewise)