Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lessons from last week

  1. Identity is communal, not individual.  Even if you try, you can never distance yourself from those who have had an impact on your life, no matter how big or small, because you will always carry them with you.  In the same way, you can't run away from your problems, these conflicts will always be a part of you, and the only thing you can do is confront them and hope to learn from them so as to make them a part of your strength, not a part of your weakness.
  2. Hondurans generally don't understand #1.  Especially not young girls, even those here at the school who have one hundred times the education and the opportunities that others in Guaimaca and the aldeas have.  I first dealt with this when Sandra ran away after last year...now this past week Diana, a very intelligent, responsible student in my senior class, one of the strongest personalities and leaders in the Center, ran away with her boyfriend to escape some difficult situations with her mother.  She at least came to the Center and canceled everything, but it was very frustrating and sad.  At this point in her life, 16 or 17 years old, she sees no other option but to run away, when there are so many people who care about her and are willing to help her.  
  3. Nothing is simple, especially not in a different culture.  I know very little about the culture here, even after more than a year.  Last year I was astounded that so many things I took as normal are only normal for where I grew up...and this year as I meet more people, develop stronger relationships, leave our bubble of comfort in the house more, I am learning so much more.  It's hard not to be insensitive at times, when you don't even know that's what you're doing.
  4. I like dancing bachata!  Alex tried teaching us in the beginning of the year, that didn't go so well, but last week some people from the HOPE group who know how to dance taught the girls during our gym class, so I practiced every day with them.
  5. I always tell the truth, and have an impulse to do so that maybe I should try to curb more often.  The truth, in the form of bluntness, certain facial expressions, and unnecessary information, isn’t always a good thing.
  6. Nothing worth having comes easy, and if it comes easy, maybe it’s not worth having.
  7. From my friend’s six year old sister, “Don’t be sad that she died because even after people die they continue living in our hearts.”  The sick woman I have been taking care of every weekend died on Thursday.


  1. #7 Profound! Sounds like the message given to Jesus' disciples when the found his tomb empty and on the road when he ascended.
    #6 Maybe. But, maybe all that is worth having is given freely. Recognizing, nurturing, and keeping it may be the hard part.
    #5 Yes, the truth sometimes is in the eyes of the beholder. I find it is best to understand others and patiently help them to understand you.
    #4 Good for you! I like to dance only because mommy likes to dance. Maybe I'd enjoy it for me if I knew how.
    #3 Knowing that you don't know a lot is pretty frustrating, isn't it? Especially after you've spent so much time to make yourself so smart. Intelligence + Understanding + Empathy + Experience = Wisdom
    #2 See #3. Intelligence is only part of the equation. She is now gaining some of the Experience. Hopefully she will gain the Understanding + Empathy as well. If she sees it from her family and real friends it may become part of her too.
    When you’re 17 years old you believe you can do anything. Remember?
    #1 Amen. You are who are as the saying goes. You bring that special ingredient to the community. The community helps to make you who you become. Community has a huge responsibility to the individual. And the individual has an equally huge responsibility to make the community all that it can be. Love God, Love one another. It's simple, right?

  2. Matthew, I am reading your blog on this Easter evening. Happy Easter to you! I look forward to hearing about your Holy week. You have some very good things to say in a clear and simple way, that I will try to copy it (my computer doesn't always allow me to do this), and send it to your brother. If he opens his heart, I believe your words could help.
    I love you and love to see the person you are evolving into! Mommy XXOO

  3. Hi Matthew,

    I enjoyed reading your blog and would like to say that many people don't understand #1. That is a real life lesson that requires self reflection.

    I'm a truth teller as well and if I do attempt to lie for the sake of a surprise or a joke, I think letters appear on my face that read, "I'm lying". I look forward to hearing how your curbing of truthfulness pans out.

    I hope you are well. Please extend a hello to the girls and the Sisters. God bless you for all you are doing and the difference you are making there.

  4. Thank you for the reply Mrs. White. I hope you are well and enjoying the end of spring.