Thursday, October 21, 2004
So I’ve been homesick.
Not terribly homesick. And really homesickness was just the result of frustration and boredom and the feeling of uselessness. So, actually, I wasn’t homesick. I was mad.
But I still would have thought twice about it if you’d handed me a plane ticket Wednesday morning.
I’ve looked forward to being here for so many months, and now that I am here, I am disappointed. I rushed to get down here. I worked hard. I swallowed my pride and asked people for money. I got stressed out about money and coming here. I tried to make myself as ready as possible for this adventure.
So, I get here. My boss said he’d take it easy on me for a while so that I could just adjust to my life and my new surroundings. So, as I’m closing in on the end of the second week, I am frustrated. I want to do something. I want ownership of something.
I’m thinking I’m not going to make a good intern.
I think I’ve pin-pointed the source of my frustration back to this summer’s experience. I went to Texas to be an intern, and yet, when I got there, I had no one to intern under. I had some great parent volunteers who helped shoulder the responsibility, but I got to be in charge. I got to work and program and really dig my hands into that youth group. I got to have ideas and see how they worked. I got to ease my way into the position and do things my way, with my true personality and feel comfortable about it.
So, I get here, and I am the intern. Just the intern. In the truest, purest since of the word. I do the grunt work. I clean. I make the ba-jillion small boxes so my boss can have an object lesson. I find the games. I type them up. I sit on the sidelines while someone else leads the games I worked so hard to research. I mentally scream in frustration when that someone puts his own spin on the game, which makes it complicated and not work. And I feel guilty when the games are a flop or don’t fill the time needed.
And it would be one thing if this were a paid internship. It would be another thing if I were working for some youth minister guru. Instead, I get a man who desperately needs help, but doesn’t know how to delegate. A man who thinks he is the guru and thinks I will put up with his to-do lists and attitude just because I am privileged to be called his intern.
Wow. So I guess I’m a little bitter. I knew I was frustrated, but I didn’t realize just how mad I am about this situation.
The thing that really gets me is this: Guatemala City is a huge city that has more poverty and crime than any place I’ve ever been. There are little kids who will juggle fruit in front of your car, then come to your window to see if you’ll give them money. There is a man known throughout the city because he will stand in front of your car at the stop light, pull out his mat, stand on his head and bicycle his feet. He gets back up, put his hat on, and then goes car to car to get handouts. People sell everything on the streets. And I mean, literally, in the streets. They weave through traffic and take advantage of every stop light and stop sign to hawk their wares. Some sell fruit, other phone cards, and yet still, feather dusters. I even saw a guy selling accordion file folders today.
So, I’m living in this city that has so many people in need, and I sit around frustrated because I have nothing to do but wait on people to pick me up. I came here because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help these people. Instead, I make boxes out of computer paper and clean up the glasses and move and arrange chairs.
I can already tell you that I’m going to really like some of the kids in this youth group. That I will get attached to some and get really involved in their lives. But these kids, while they have their own set of problems and need people to love on them and be there, they have such a privileged lifestyle. For the most part, at least, they do. I know that God brought me to Guatemala for a reason. I know that there is no way all these doors would have opened if it hadn’t come from God. At least, I think that is true. I don’t want to even think about the possibility that I’ve gotten myself into some huge mess simply because I was trying to control my life again and not letting God guide me.
So, if God brought me here (which, I really think he did), then I guess my problem is that I haven’t quite figured out my purpose here.
Guess it’s a good thing God gives us patience to endure these times of uncertainty and frustration. I just wish I had a little more right now.