Sunday, October 23, 2011


Ok so this week I got my first bout of amoebas.  I can't say that they were the worst experience of my life.  Hands down that award goes to a little friend I'd like to call Salmonella followed closely by a concussion.

However, as far as being able to blog they definitely take the bite out of ambition.  So I'll be terse (I hope that word means what I think it does).  Anyway, I'm just going to sum this Shizzle up really quick.

This week Carmen left.  It was super sad and I'm going to miss her like crazy.  She became like a brother to me and was really there for me when it came to the important things down here.  As a perk I got her room which has a freaking hot water heater and refrigerator...  I'm being spoiled down here now.

Ok then on Wednesday I locked myself out of my room and the man with the spare keys (Padre (the priest)) is out of town on Wednesdays. So after trying out my ninja lock opening skills I slept in the dinning room of Padre's House with my arms wrapped around my backpack hoping it would magically protect me from the swarm of mosquitoes.  I also ganked a sheet which is almost as good as the backpack.

Wednesday was pretty cool cuz I did get to play baseball with some of my kids which was AWESOME. Yes I'm going to use AWESOME instead of going into intimate details because I'm sick!

Thursday I got checked out and found out I had a blood infection (WTF) and amoebas.  If you wanna know what amoebas do then google it.  I'll give you a hint tho, Stomach pain, fever, nausea, dizziness, another d word, diarrhea, and muscle soreness.

It sucks but if I can get outta bed it's not that bad right?

Anyway, I'm up I'm about.  I'm going to teach tomorrow.  I'm going to take some meds tonight, but I really don't have the mental capability to focus on this any longer so I bid you good night and I'll try to have a wholly satisfying blog up some time when I'm feeling better.

Goodnight my friends,

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lords and Surfs

This a nice house but not the nicest...
Today we had a visitor in Okinawa, Melia.  To show here this divide, we took her on a tour of Okinawa.  Within Okinawa we have many different Barrios (or district) and each has its own flavor.  In the Japonese Barrio there are two story houses with electric gates, buzzers, satellites, boats on trailers, one or more cars, solar panels, trimmed gardens, etc.  These are houses built of brick, covered with stucko so the bricks don’t show, and painted.  There is a fence around the property and space between yards.

On the other side of Okinawa we have the barrio where I went to pray the rosary.  This barrio has a very different feel.  Nice houses are made of exposed bricks, then there are houses made of wood with thatch roofs, the cheapest houses are mud huts with thatch roofs.  Sometimes there are multiple families living in each house. 

This is a shack, but not the worst...
Our discussion today surrounded the injustice of poverty.  We talked about poverty here as compared to the states.  The Japanese here didn’t always have wealth; many of them fled Japan after WW2 because they didn’t have any land (due to radiation or other factors.)  They started here with nothing and their wealth comes from their crops.  They flaunt their wealth in their houses because they are proud of their success. 

Conversely we have Bolivians who have lived on the same land for generations and have not been able to get a leg up.  They are living similar to how they lived for generations without the motivation to build up.  Some of these shanty shacks will be built right next to the Japanese houses.  It's very much like the lords and the surfs of old.  The money "trickles down" from the rich to the poor.  Although it may be more of a drip than a trickle.

Yet, how do we address this gap when asked?  What do we do when a child comes up to us and looks for inspiration or support?  I think Melia nailed this on the head, there is dignity in poverty.  We can be proud of the privileges that we do have, not taking them for granted, yet not wishing for others to the detriment of our personal sanity.

This is the mentality that will help volunteers get from working in a field filled with poverty to living amongst our family again, as privileges become common place again.

Why is this all important to a volunteer?  Well as I’m sure you all know volunteering means giving up a certain amount of privelage.  It’s always there even though the people who are hosting you try their hardest to minimize this.  I still have running water (and sometimes it is hot!).  I have a bed a toilet that flushes.  I can afford to get my clothes washed.  I have books and a computer.  Yet even with all of this, to a volunteer poverty is very IN YOUR FACE. 

I’d draw the comparison to a phantom limb lost somewhere in life, you may get used to missing a hand but it never feels quite right.  That is the life of a volunteer; we are always halfway between cultures.  My phantom limb consists of potable water, air conditioning, my truck, a flat screen TV, Playstation 3, Laundry Machines, etc. and it itches constantly. 

No matter what I do I sense the feeling of loss.  As I lay awake at night I feel the heat beating down on me.  My one sheet is too much tonight so I toss it aside.  The few mosquitoes that have made it into my room awaken me once or twice with their infamous eardrum flybys.  I’ve developed a cough over the past few days, I don’t know what it is but I pray its just a cold and that it isn’t a symptom of something deeper. 

Angry I complain to myself.  I think of how nice my house is in the states, the fact that I can sleep with a BLANKET in the summer.  The thought of ice water from the faucet makes the luke warm water from my reused 2 liter bottle taste bitter.  Tonight I’m bitter, I missed mass because of the pounding in my head.  The sound of others praying seems to set me on edge, even though it should bring me peace. 

My heart seems to be in a black mood tonight as I think of a place where I have a fiancĂ©, a loyal dog, my car, my TV, my language, my, my, my…

I wish I could tell you that this was some sort of fabricated story, but this is how I felt last night.  Bitter and sweaty I laid in my bed wishing to be somewhere else; to enjoy the privilege that I deserve.  I hate to admit these thoughts, and the only thing that got me to stop my whining was when I thought of the children here. 

I thought of children who are sleeping on a shared family bed, huddling close to their parents in the winter to fight the cold and seeking space in the summer to fight the heat.  Children who don’t have mosquito nets, so rather than the 1 or 2 flybys they become a tasty little pincushion for mosquitoes as they rest.

I think of the Television that they don’t have.  The deflated soccer balls they feel PRIVELAGED to play with.  I think of the dirty water that these kids drink which carries amoebas, bacterial infections, or some other stomach bug they can’t afford to get rid of.  I think of the houses that I walk by down here: the rich, the working class, and the poor.  Even the nicest of the houses here in Okinawa Numero Uno is not as nice as my parent’s house in the states…

These are the thoughts and experiences that allow me to get through my time here.  They remind me that I don’t deserve my lot in life.  Life down here has taught me that my phantom limb wasn’t a right I had but a privilege and I pray when it is returned to me that I never take it for granted again. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Praying for food

What does it mean when we pray for the hungry?  Does it mean we hope that food will magically appear, that it will rain meatballs, or that the sensation of hunger will disappear?  Personally, I believe that when we pray for the hungry, we are praying for an openness in our own hearts that allows us, as people, to help one another when need arises.  I hope that you'll see in this blog that does happen.

The month of May is all about the Rosary in Catholic Communities.  I’d never seen the type of praying that they had done here before.  Every day they wake up at 5 am walk down the road, dreary eyed and exhausted to pray the first rosary of the day.

This year I decided to pray the rosary every single day, either with the other volunteer, the kids, or by myself.  I know many of my friends from school are probably like… WTF are you doing Large!  I can’t really explain what it is but praying the same thing every day puts you into this semi meditative state.  It’s amazing what some time away from the TV and Computer can do to help you think.

I’ve recently started praying the rosary again and I’m trying to keep it to every single night.  I do some yoga poses and will hold them for an entire Hail Mary or two.  It is more about self discipline than anything else.  I’ve lived much of my life doing what I WANTED to do and not feeling fulfilled I think it’s time to start doing what I need to do first.

So here is a story.  A common prayer is for food for the poor.  I never realized it but that’s what they pray for too.  It all started when Carmen (my fellow volunteer), invited me to go do the rosary with her in the Barrios (suburbs) of Okinawa.  Usually the Barrios we go to are the poorest areas.  I reluctantly decided to join here, because I was still not enjoying doing the rosary every freaking night, but I went.

We show up at a stranger’s house where Carmen and I are warmly welcomed.  We are given seats, of which there aren’t many, and polite conversation until it is time to start.  I don’t know if any of you recall the story I wrote about picking a kid up and removing him from class, but that kid was there.  We saw each other from across the room and the glare could have melted steel.  I know I should be more love but this kid seriously got on my nerves. 

Anyway, I pushed it aside, or tried to, and prayed the rosary.  They do three rosaries and one of the kids gets a turn to lead.  It really is beautiful.  At the end they go around and instead of doing 10 Hail Marys they do 1 for each little kid there.  The thought being that God hears little kids better than he hears adults. 

After every rosary is food some sort of snack of cookies, saltenas, or soda.  The food is provided by the owners of the house because the children have come to say the rosary.  It is a gift for a gift.  Sometimes the owners of the house don’t provide anything, believe it or not, that usually happens at the best furnished and nicest houses. 

We would visit three houses every night.  And without fail I was always offered seconds, which it would be rude to refuse.  I learned how to sneak something to the kids around me but I couldn’t always manage it.  I usually prayed that the kids would find some food, shelter, and love; things hard to come by in Bolivia.

As time went on Jose Louis and I bonded, not quickly, but it was there.  He’d forgiven me for embarrassing him in class and I was realizing how tough he had it.  One day I asked him why he came to the rosary.  He obviously didn’t like it.  He mumbled the prayers if he said them at all.  His response was, “This is my dinner.”

p.s. I am a little to busy to edit my blogs right now so... I hope you'll forgive me. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I stole this pic from the internet
Yup that’s it.  I've had a long as-heck week and I just can't seem to organize my thoughts so you get them in an un-edited charlie foxtrot.  I'm sorry to do this to you, wait no I'm not cuz that means I don't have to edit this crap.  What Have I been doing?  The beginning of the week was normal, then s- got harder.  Thursday I started my visa process which is, in the mildest of terms, a pain in the keister.  I mean how hard should it be to volunteer to help educate someone elses country?  And the people who work at the best jobs have the WORST attitude.  Don't say hi or else you get kicked out!  What the Foxtrot is that?  Corruption...  Gotta love it!  So instead of a cohesive blog you get this... You can all thank the Bolivian Government. 


Spin me?
Seriously, What the Foxtrot?  Sometimes I don’t know why I’m here, I mean I do, but I don’t…  What good am I actually doing?  I frack up so much here that I might as well just be another dude,  I’ve been trying to become good friends with this kid named Diego, yet every time I try to set up a meeting I freaking miss it.  I don’t want him to think that I don’t care but honestly I have other priorities that I have to put first… like getting my Visa info done. 

How to Chill 101...
Day off,

Some weekends I feel like slacking off on Saturday, it is quite literally my only day off down here.  Yeah I may be able to catch a nap sometimes during the week but it’s the only time I get to say no to all the things that are piling up around me.  I woke up at 11 today.  Sure I was up at 4:15 so I could get my visa done and went to bed at 11 pm but that’s my fault!


Sometimes I feel like a man in the middle of a blizzard with a little gardening spade.  I can’t seem to dig fast enough.  As I get more familiar with the needs of the community down here I see all the different things they need me to do and my time to return to the states is quickly approaching.  (hence the bad feeling about my day off).  Then on top of that being here has made me super susceptible to getting sick.  A cold could last a month or three.

Dorthy Sucks...

When in another country you never quite feel healthy.  There is always something nagging at your health.  I can’t put my finger on it but it’s this worry, the diet is different (I miss veggies soo much) and anything you eat that isn’t cooked could potentially give you some sort of bug.  On the flip side it is extremely rude to say no when someone offers you a gift of food.  It is just like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about look it up.


Yet with all that s- piled up this is one of the most awesome experiences of my life.   I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world.  It’s been as memorable as my college experience with close friends (Haitians, Bolivians, Americans and more), great experiences, and a feeling of fulfillment.  I can complain about many things down here but not the experience as a whole.

Just a cool pic.

When you finally get the feeling of being accepted by the community at large it is an amazing feeling.  For me it happened when they started calling me “Big Show” for the Big Show, Y’all know who I’m talking about.  They seem to think it’s a term of endearment and it fits so I don’t fight it.  I just smile and wave whenever I hear my new name and recognize that I’ve been accepted into the community here. 


Down here nicknames seem to be a huge deal.   Everyone has one (except Sister Nora who is going to be a Saint).  Sor Leo is Sister Lion, because when she yells it’s freaking loud.  Every volunteer who comes down is “Ticher” but that doesn’t translate to Professor or Teacher as we know it.  It just means volunteer.  I’ve heard this name being shouted from the darndest places.  Kids who I’ve never seen will run up to me and hug me because I’m just another “Teacher.”  This has to be one of my favorite things down here.

Oh so you can do it… Right?

There is an assumption down here that Americans can do a very wide range of things.  Being an engineer doesn’t mean that I can make airplanes it means that I can fix a copy machine, do a little plumbing, and basically anything else of that sort.  I love it but sometimes it gets me into a little bit of trouble… such as offering my services to help someone build a kit helicopter…  I think it was in Spanish and things are still a little hazy as far as that’s concerned. 

The Volunteers,

Freaking A, I just want everyone out there to know that volunteering with other people is a different experience.  I have been on a site by myself and with other people.  Being the social butterfly that I am I tend to prefer the company of others to my own.  EVERY single person I have met on mission has been amazing in their own way and I’m going to write up personal profiles for each of them so you can all get to know what they are like.  Cuz guess what, they rock!

Anyway that’s pretty much all the randomness for right now.  I miss you all and I’ll see you shortly… I hope.  If you have any prayer requests feel free to hit me up and I’ll get the community on it. 

Over and out,

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Nothing like dropping a deuce.

Really is there anything better than dropping a deuce?  I know it’s crude to say, but honestly, we all do it!  Everyone gives the act their own flare, whether it be how we name it, where they’ll do it, if they have to Shower afterwards, or if we leave the door open so as not to miss American Idol. 

For Obvious Reasons I didn't take a picture of the child pooping.. But there is poop on my leg in this pic...
In some ways pooping is a better equalizer than guns.  Nothing says wow he’s a human being too, like sharing the bathroom with your boss.  Most importantly, no matter whom you are your crap stinks.

Quick Story, I was out visiting one of our communities (Virgin De Guadalupe), and I saw the most epic event of my life.  Seriously though this is going to move you, I was preparing our games for the day, bringing out some balls and jump ropes when I look over at the house bordering the school.  In the yard a little boy is squatting over (in his front yard) taking a tird.  I crap you not, in his front yard.  No he wasn’t using an outhouse, no he wasn’t behind a bush (which they have here). 

Just a shot of a normal House in Bolivia, mud and twigs.
This very much relates to something I’ve been working on here in Bolivia, my ego.  I’m a cocky son of a gun sometimes.  I’m arrogant and proud; to the point where I correct people even if I’m not 100% sure I know the answer.  Great qualities for an A-hole like Donald Trump, but a volunteer needs to be humble and kind.

A big trial for me is that I’m an educated American in a 3rd world country.  I know how things work without reading the manual and can read the labels on just about everything (cuz it’s in English).  The worst part is that everyone turns to me if it has a power switch…  This has all lead to a few episodes of supreme cockiness. 

So here’s the problem, you have a DVD player that doesn’t work with a TV and a windstorm has knocked down an external antenna.  The antenna and DVD player are in no way connected to each other.  Here is the twist, the local electrician (I use that term very loosely) came and did some work after the storm and apparently this rocket scientist told the sisters that the antenna that fell outside was affecting their dvd player…  What do you do?

Well, I went to town trying to fix the problem.  I mean c’mon I freaking ROCK at plugging yellow into yellow, red into… well you get it every American has done this once or twice.  Added twist! So as I’m trying to fix this problem the Nun, God Bless Her Technologically Challenged Soul, tried to convince me that it wouldn’t work because of the antenna.  Then the Internas (boarding kids) tried to help me by telling me to change the input to AV2 (first thing I did was plug said DVD player into AV1).  With so much help how could anything down here ever be broken? 

I ranted, I yelled, I was frustrated, but in the end I found the problem and, more importantly, convinced the nuns I knew what I was talking about.  The only problem in this situation is that I let my ego get out of control.  I felt superior because of two things: 1) my neighbors don’t have human feces in their yards and 2) I knew that even the most technologically challenged American could handle that situation.

But we all know that isn’t true.  My brother used to work at Nintendo helping people who didn’t know how to plug in their Wii.  Honest to Goodness Doctors who couldn’t fix this problem and then you get two people looking down on each other.

I guess this is something that I’ve still got to work on, because I’m not better than that kid.  If I didn’t have another place to poop or if I didn’t know any better I can guarantee you something.  I’d drop a load wherever I wanted to. 

Monday, August 22, 2011



One of the best parts of my job (of which there are many) is going to the local communities.  These are some of the most rural places I’ve seen in my life.  We drive anywhere from 10-45 minutes away from Okinawa (one of the last vestiges of civilization as you leave Montero.  It is quite literally where the paved road ends. 

Yet these communities full of life (some more than others), they have houses, small stores, and each has a school with a playground.  We arrive each week sounding our horn to announce our approach.  Morning or afternoon children seem to swarm from the woodwork.  They come out of huts, houses, trees, and anywhere else you’d expect to find a child, and some you wouldn’t.

In the mornings we are almost always interrupting their elementary school to the dismay of both teachers and students.  Yet mornings remain the better option due to an increased turnout, usually 2-3 times as many kids.
Once on site, our primary goal in this is to reach out.  Our days usually start with a Christian video.  Boy would I LOVE to get my hands on some Spanish Veggie Tales!  We follow that with a crafts period where we paint or color a picture about God.  Then comes my favorite part; play time.  We bring all sorts of games: yo-yos, play-dough,  color pencils, basketballs, baseball bats and balls, footballs, soccer balls, chalk, and anything else kids love to play with. 

Play time can be anything we want, ranging from an organized soccer game to a group of kids playing with yo-yos.  It is really my time to just enjoy chilling with the kids and tap into my inner child, as many of you know I have an over abundance.   Sometimes I make up different variations of games we’ve all played (Simon says has become Ninja Master Says).
Some of my favorite community days have been completely random.  Once there was a mattress sitting out and the kids were doing flips onto it.  I ended up picking them up and tossing them onto the mattress which they all loved.

Another time I rolled in a cow pie cuz I was being a dork and somersaulting over the wrong type of pasture.
Sometimes the volunteers even get to talk to the kids for a while.  Every time I get to see just how lucky I am.   Which leads me into a few short stories, I hope you like.

First a little background, Bolivians are blunt.  Tact is not a word they use or even care about.  They either blatantly lie, or tell the truth as it is.  Lying is a part of their culture, for example, they don’t say “I’m joking” they say “I’m lying” instead.  What do you expect from a culture that thinks that to joke means to lie? 

On the flip side they are brutally honest.  Another example, one of the kids asked why I was fat.  I wasn’t offended (you grow a thicker skin or go home) and responded that it was cuz I eat a lot.  She said, “yeah me too and grabbed her belly.”  Seriously?  I mean where is the tact, the backhanded compliments or insults, the white lies, and everything else that runs American politics?

Alright so now you know that they either blatantly lie or are brutally honest.  Well when you ask someone a question you either get a pathetic lie without any consistency, or the brutal honesty.

This comes with its own lesson, be careful what you ask cuz you just might hear something you can’t un-hear. 
Last week Carmen heard a story about a little boy.  The little boy was wearing an orange shirt, had a adorable smile and big long eye lashes (according to Carmen).   Carmen said, “Wow, I love your eyelashes!” 

The boy responds, “Yeah my twin has the same eyelashes.”

Carmen followed up with, “Where is your twin?”

The boy responded, “He is at home.  When he was a little baby he got run over by a car and has one leg that is shorter than the other.  He can’t walk so he doesn’t come.”

Carmen asked something along the lines of, “Is he home with your dad?”

The boy responded, “No, my dad is really mean.  When he would get angry he used to stand on my brother’s leg and hurt him as punishment.  My dad isn’t here anymore because he’s in jail for being bad.”

I thought I’d escaped stories like this when I left Haiti…  But what is there to do other than be a good role model for these kids.  Honestly, who else is going to?

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Friday, July 15, 2011

My New Adventure

Two weeks ago today I got engaged to Shannon Rock.

I'm not going to expand on this too much but needless to say we are both very excited.  We are planning everything out.  Planning, which isn't my forte, a wedding from two different locations sucks.  I have to say that this makes long distance much harder.

Luckily I freaking love this girl.  That's about it for this blog.

Being Home

Hey all,

Well this isn't going to be an exciting post.  I've been in the states for a few weeks now.  I came home to get my visa information squared away.

Basically what happened is that Bolivia will ONLY let you apply for a visa if you are in the states.  That means if I want to volunteer I have to wait here for the required "1 month" while they process my visa.

So I was curious about where I was in the visa process and decided to call and ask.  This is how it went.

Me:  Hola Hablas Ingles (Hi do you speak English)
Consulate person:  No
Me: Quero Conocer donde mi visa es. (I want to know where my Visa is)
Consulate person: Mister you have to call back at 3:00 (in english)
Me:  Don't you close at three????
Consulate person: Yes! (And they hung up)

If there is one thing in this world I hate more than our government it is the government in other countries!  So what does that mean?  Well I've got to change my ticket so that I'm in the states for another two weeks.  Yup, two freaking weeks and $200 because they are slow...

At least I'm not wasting my time here.  I've been "helping" around my parents shop by engineering a few work a rounds for their accounting system.

Alright I'm going to jet and try to write a better blog than that for next time.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cow Pies

I'm going to edit this post state side with pics, video, and obviously my misspelings :-)

Well I guess I've got to tell you all a little about my schedule here. I think a chart will work best.

Teaching English to 7th & 6th grades
Teaching English to 8th & 7th grades
Watching the Internas
Free Morning (I usually try to fill it with something)
Watching the Internas
Helping the First Grade Teacher
Helping the First Grade Teacher
Internas (I want to start teaching advanced English classes)
Internas (I want to start doing a study hall here)
Internas (I want to start doing some sort of sport day)
Volunteer Hang out night

Sat and Sunday I'm free but I really try to keep busy by going up and helping at other Volunteer sites or blogging a little. The other girls do Chatecism and another job I have is to use the water system to make Clean water for people. I usually fit that in somewhere and I'm probably going to go do that here pretty soon.

Well let's focus on Communities for today. I'll refer to this chart a lot but right now just communities. This is when we go out to the boonies and play with little kids. It's a blast because I get to practice my soccer skills against 10 yearolds. Which is a huge ego boost and also fun.

Why? Cuz I always win! Muahahahaha. Nah actually cuz I get to teach them and work with them rather than being a tird. Which I hope rubs off and teaches them to treat others similarly.

We also watch movies and just hang out. It's supposed to be a time for us to get to know the kids and give them some positive role models. Apparently, we used to go for the entire day, but apparently the government cut their funding for gas. Now we go for the afternoons only.

Well either way we have a great time and if any of you want to send stuff that I share with the kids, like jump ropes, etc. lemme know.

Well one particular day we were playing and I was feeling expecially energetic. We started off with a game of football (keep away). My team was winning for obvious reasons! This particular field had cow pies all over it. I mean it looked like they were strategically place.

We all know I can be cocky sometimes... To my detriment most of the time but not today! After I got the lay of the land I decided to start doing diving rolls on the field to recover the ball. I was super careful so as not to hit any of the nasty pies.

It was a freaking blast.... Until... The inevitable happened. I jumped before I looked.

That's right guys, my dumb butt rolled right into a cow pie. A double cow pie actually!

I had it all over my back, legs, everywhere. The kids (Carmen that means you too) thought it was hillarious. After a brief photo shoot, we decided that it would be best if I rinsed off. There was a hand washing sink that the kids were more than willing to use to “clean” me off. At this stage I was not only dirty but wet.

We decided to call it a day right about then and I got to ride in the truck bed yet again. Dirty, wet and cold.

Ah, the stupid things I do for a little laugh.

Watch out for those mines,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Warning: don't flush the toilet paper!

The first thing you learn when traveling is that you can't take anything for granted! I learned this lesson when I my sister told me, “Don't flush the toilet paper.” Aparently it causes an almost instantaneous reaction with the septic systems down here. Why? Because the plumbing sucks. I've heard a few horror stories that I'm not going to share, but this got me thinking.

Why do Americans have so many signs around. Are we that stupid that we can't figure things out on our own? Because guess what we have an OVER abundance of warnings.

Does this over sign-age make weaker people? Do we create a society where the weak and strong survive into their breeding years making a stupider race? Are we heading to the future predicted in Idiocracy?

I don't think so. During my time here I've seen that people learn the lessons of survival by trying and learning. When you fall from a tree it hurts, when your friend gets near a ratteling noise (more on this later) he gets bit. We learn through experience and not through the warnings that are posted out there.

We each have a built in system for survival, fear. There is a book called the gift of Fear. I haven't read it yet and I wouldn't suggest it to everyone, but it is a great book. We live longer through fear, and we achieve greatness, and weakness based on our ability to selectively overcome this feeling.

A little story:

A few weeks ago we were driving home from one of our communities. And I spilled hot McDonalds coffee on my lap. I should sue!!!

Ha just kidding, but I was riding in the bed taking in the scenery. It's beautiful here, yet the dirt roads suck and sometimes you just can't stop in time. There is also sugar cane strewn all over and it's usually not worth dodging.

As an aside, sugarcane is long, straight, and tubular. When ran over it can curve a little, but it is also brown and many creatures match it's color to blend in while hunting in the fields.

This day was no exception and there was a piece of cane in the road. Carmen, who was driving, thought “why risk losing control when you can just drive over it!!!”


Huh... Sugar Cane doesn't go CRUNCH it goes “snap.” Yup you guessed it we had ran over a freaking snake. I knew imediately because our sugar can began to curl into a ball. Carmen stopped the car and Michelle got out.

What is an good red blooded American's first instinct? Get a picture!!! I have to give credit when credit is due, Michelle (who has had Bechos 5 times) has nerves of steel. Yet she must not have seen the sign the last American put on that rattler, “Warning: this shit will kill you!”

I can honestly say that I don't think she'd have gotten that close but I still lost it. I fervently told her to get into the bed of the truck as we tried to back over it again. My built in fear meter was reading GTFO and my imagination was all visions of us racing home on dirt roads wondering how long it takes for venom to kill.

Luckily she yielded and got in the truck and we continued to back toward the injured snake.

In the end hesitation won the day as our injured snake got away (hopefully it recoveres and lives a happy human free life. I'm sure of two things, I'll never go near a snake I see and the snake will definitely stay away from big green trucks.

Later I found out that Michelle thought the snake was dead...

So what's the moral of that story? I'm not sure there is one. Trust your gut? Nah, we just need to tag every snake out there with a sign that say, “This snake is of the bite and kill you genius so stay at least 7 feet / 3.128798237439 meters away.”

Maybe it means, don't take anything for granted... I'm not sure. I just know I don't want to see another snake like that again!

Be safe guys,

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I'm sorry...

I'm sorry to anyone who actually read this thing and paid attention to what I was doing. I kinda dropped the ball. Well not kinda, I did. Leaving Haiti was a VERY hard decision for me to make, which took me months to come to grips with. It wasn't until I landed in Bolivia that I finally realized I'd made the right decision.

It was the kind of thing that felt selfish and there are nights, like tonight, that I lose sleep over it. In the end leaving Haiti turned out for the best. I've found a program that has helped me develop on a new level. I no longer feel like I'm in the same rut of personal growth.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not done with Haiti. I have a profound love for those people. I will NEVER forget any of them, but I also can't be there right now. My Haitian home was as much a prison as it was sanctuary. Gorgeous in it's splendor and amenities, yet very much separate from those people I wanted to help most.

Another down side was my workload, in Haiti I had to come up with my own work to do. I was forced to keep myself busy and in response I ended up wasting a lot of time surfing the web. I not only felt useless, but guilty I wasn't helping the people around me who were in need.

What I learned from Haiti: just because you can't help everyone doesn't mean you can't help MORE. In Haiti I felt that I reached out to a select group of people. Here in Bolivia, I'm part of a growing community. A group of people who have a goal, to change lives.

Right now that community consists of three awesome girls who have become like sisters to me: Carmen, Susan, and Michelle. Carmen is like my twin: krass, rash, and outgoing. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and is one of the few people I consider similar to Veronica.

Susan is like the younger sister who trips and is a little clumsy, however, she is ultimately the most patient person in the world. She reminds me of Tony (a friend from college) in the fact that she never ever gets mad and dances goofy as heck.

Michelle is like the mother/older sister down here. She takes care of us all and at the same time has the patience of a saint. I can't believe all that she is going through and she just offers it up to God. I have the utmost respect for her even if we have butted heads on occasion.

These girls have already taught me soo much and I don't know what I'd do without each one of them. I'll try to keep you updated on our adventures because every day is something new. I mean so far I've been entered into a first grade class, had an experience with cow pies, and physically done something to a student no teacher here would do... And they beat the kids!!!

I hope you are all excited to hear a few stories cuz you know I like to tell em.

With love,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Two months to figure out what the heck I do from here...

Hey everyone,

Sorry that I haven't posted a blog in over two months.  I've been holding onto the fact that I want to go back to Haiti but it looks like that won't be possible now.

Nothing in this post is set in stone yet but I've officially started looking for a new mission site in a Spanish speaking country.

If that doesn't work out I'm going to look for a job in the states, or start my own company with Matt, Chris, and Ivy making video games.

In the mean time I've continued working on my project for Haiti and I'll never quite give up on that one.  We'll see how it comes through in the end.

Peace and Love,