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Thank you for S*H*I*T

Little Guatemalan Boy

We are grateful for…

The fact that we are beginning this list of gratitude. Despite having the poverty, the desperateness of everything and everyone get to us in a way that makes us almost “pek cek (frustrated)”.

Ok, VERY pek cek.

We’ve had the words “Shit.” “You.” stumbled out of the mouth of a hardly 10 year old Guatemalan boy to us; after we said no to him as he peddled his goods to us.
“Is this what you learnt English for???!!!” Val roared silently.

In that exchange, we could see why the ang mohs here got jaded and disillusioned and even angry over the years.

爲什麽你們就不可以自愛多一點點呢??? (Why can’t you love yourselves just that little bit more?)

Tay turned around and said, “Because they need to survive.”

How to?
How does one find that inner strength to love, when all around you are signs telling you to go to hell?

That 10 year old boy should be in school insteading of selling bracelets for Q1.
How to?
How to when the school teachers are paid inversely proportional to the distance between the school and the capital city?
How to when the school building is all but a concrete block with no chalk board, no chairs, no desks, no light, no water, no windows, no doors…and most of the time, no teachers, too?
How to when the school uniforms, school shoes, text books, writing materials cost way beyond that one meal they can barely afford a day.

Dear God, or whoever it is up there –
Where were you when these children were bornt???
We are sitting at a wi-fi-ed cafe right now; suddenly there was a storm. And just after Val finished typing the above sentences…

*the thunder roars*

It said to us, “Be thankful.”

And so we give thanks for:
The life we were bornt into. The land we were bornt on. The families that received us.
And the love that never left us.
The fact that Val is typing this entry on my netbook, we know the internet, we are travelling.
The ability to speak and write English, Chinese, and now, Spanish.
The opportunity to walk into one house after another, to touch one life after another… and then be humbled by their lessons, one after another.
The meals that have warmed our stomachs and nourished our souls. We never had to go hungry… ever.

All these while, people kept wanting something from us, we felt so drained, so tired of saying “no”, we decided we wanna say “Thank You” instead. So “Thank You…”

  • To Veracruz Transito, for letting us go home after asking for 100 pesos instead of the original 6000.
  • To the Guatemalan immigration officer for asking only 20 pesos per person when it could have been 200.
  • To the Guatemalan traffic police, for letting us go after finding out that we were a van of “volunteers” not tourists.
  • To the shuttle van driver eventually for asking only Q20 to pay for the ropes to tie the bicycles, when he was “given instructions” to leave us and our bicycles behind if we did not pay him more.
  • To the ang moh who replied our request to stay with him, with a cutting remark that our project is “non-focused energy”, and “will not accomplish concrete good” if “not more specifically targeted toward concrete projects”; because we ended up staying with a truly inspirational mother, who showed me the kind of mother I can possibly be.
  • And most of all, the 10 year old little boy who ran off after “shitting” us.

Because he triggered off a series of emotions and reactions.
Which when peeled off, lies a reminder.
A reminder to “Be Grateful”.

And with this gratitude,
We say a deep prayer –
That whoever who had been watching out for us to bring us here today
Watches out for that 10 year old boy…
And brings him back

Help us share one more story –
Your spare change, even if it’s just $1, will go a long way