Well, I’m not sure you can call this day one, since it was a travel day. The “day” started yesterday at about 12:00am (yes, mid-frickin-night) with a lot of bleary-eyed people climbing on a bus and starting the long journey to Newark, NJ. I have not been in a charter bus in a while, and I remember why. It was not very comfortable, it was cold, and it was slow. Eventually, around 4:15am we got to the airport and started the next stage of chaos and craziness. Try to get 42 people checked in when only one person is handling each person, and taking the cash for each extra bag. 42 people at two bags each makes…. 84 bags. This took a while.
The plane was just as you would expect how plane rides to be. Plane goes up. Plane goes down.
Next we had to find our way through customs and all that. Luckily, my experience playing video games made a big difference if jumping through all of the hoops, over all of the gates, and through the ring of fire.
Now for the fun part. I should let you know that when I say “fun” I am being sarcastic – this was not fun. Remember how I haven’t been in a charter bus for some time? It has been even longer since I have been in school bus. A school bus with no AC, with very little power and crammed with people. This was not fun in any manner and lasted at least two hours (maybe more). As we rode through the Dominican Republic (DR), I overheard a number of people making comments about the houses (or lack of), the incomplete projects, the people, etc. I started to think about this, are we projecting on the people of the DR as less than we are? Are we creating an us/them when we look with a disapproving glance at the way things are? Later in the evening I went with a large group of people (and nothing is worse than walking through a foreign country with a large group of people) to the big supermarket/department store/wall mart. I found myself looking down at many of the products offered in the electronics department. I found myself looking down at the food being sold, and I caught myself. Who am I to assume and decide that these things are less in value than what I have? Who am I to cast judgment?
So here is a challenge for the week: how do I work with these people, serve these people without looking down on them? How do I stand by their side and live in their lives without condemning them?
Who am I to say that my life is better?