This trip hasn’t been at all what I’ve expected, and not in a “happy wow amazing” way. Frankly, it’s been full of deceit, painful conversations, disappointments and a host of other things that I’m choosing not to go into.
My time with the students has been great, but there are some things on this trip that have both threatened to and successfully robbed me of the joy of being here.
It is the hardest trip I’ve ever taken and I’m fighting constant homesickness.
With the help of some of some of my friends back home, I’ve started looking for opportunities for what I’m calling Vigilante Kindness, acts of kindness not born out of an organization or a specific mission, just kindness for the sake of being kind, one person keeping vigil over another.
I think these acts of Vigilante Kindness are going to be my saving grace and if I’m laying all my cards down, I could use little grace right now and I’m betting you could, too.
I bought a mattress today which might not seem like a big deal, but as is always the case here, there is so much more to the story and a mattress isn’t just a mattress.
There are two brothers who attend the school I’m working at. They were both accepted to the school this year and when a student is accepted into the school, their family must provide them with a mattress.
The father, a peasant farmer, was only able to purchase one mattress and promised to purchase a second when he was able to earn the money. The two teenage boys have been sharing a bed since they were admitted. Education is a gift only some here receive, so sharing a bed is a small price to pay.
Two weeks ago their father was involved in a land dispute. Land equals food. Land equals income. Land equals life. The dispute became quite heated and the father was murdered.
The boys are left without a father. The family is left without an income earner.
By purchasing a mattress for this boy, his family is now free to use what little money they earn to focus on things like feeding the family. The boys will be able to sleep better, focus better in classes and hopefully succeed in school so that the tragic loss of their father doesn’t spiral into the loss of their future.
A mattress is so much more than a mattress.
When I gave the kid the mattress and mosquito net, he was so overcome with gratitude. He kept thanking me over and over and I received his hearty thanks on behalf of my friends Becca and Gerald who prior to my departure shoved bills in my hand with simple instructions to find a kid in need and help them out.
I did and tonight he will be sleeping soundly in his own bed.