January 8, 2011

What a Year!

Posted in Community, Travel, Work tagged , , , , , at 10:42 am by Mo Dardinger

The nearly empty shelves of the library near Lima, serving a whole community. My own overstocked bookshelves, serving mostly to collect dust.

The fall this summer that could have killed me. The sorrow this fall that almost did.

Happy, busy Food for the Hungry staff members crowded together, wearing jackets inside in the cold office. Townhouse hallways and rooms at a perfect temperature, spacious rooms, crowded with possessions rather than with people, topsy turvy.

Women whose husbands work far away all day, managing to keep their families going and even make things better for them. My husband nearby all day and taking care of the laundry, the meals, the patio, the vehicles. How blessed they are with courage and resourcefulness. How blessed I am with companionship and prosperity.

The hard-working women who struggle against poverty and disease and often face domestic violence, learning to cope and to thrive. My efforts to put one foot in front of the other and keep going, get more done for work, be a blessing to those I teach, encourage others, start up neighborhood community.

Children dwelling on the steep hillsides. What happens when they are ill or injured? Does anyone there have a stretcher that two adults could carry a child on, down the hill? How far is the nearest doctor?

Dear Maria, eager to tell us more about the communities, about our FH programmes. Our lack of time, the need to hurry back to the technical tasks we mostly went for. So much I’d like to learn from Maria.

The graduation ceremony. The odd sandwiches we were served, dried chicken with minute fries. The sweet, refreshing tea.

Enjoying visits with three sets of friends on four days on our vacation in the Seattle area. Our excitement in seeing one another. Wondering why my happy, chatty girlfriends live so far away.

The school on the hillside. A start. What one begins with when books and desks are hard to come by. The mothers who developed it, so proud, so determined to make a difference, glad to show it off. Trying to see how my job connects to all this and what difference we at the Phoenix office of FH are making.

Sleeping in while the others exercised, trying to get the energy to be useful while sick. A late lunch of chocolate cake and a salty tube of peanuts and raisins, very tasty.

The Lima office on a holiday, deserted, just us geeks doing some last-minute stuff. Hearing the party next door, the first day of Fiestas Patrias. Music, laughter, the things that make life worth living.

Expecting the 400 varieties of potatoes in Peru to be available in all sorts of imaginative dishes. Finding out that Peruvians are just as stupid as Americans in this regard, thinking French fries count as potatoes. Wondering if I’ll ever make it back to continue the spud hunt.

Being watched over on the trip, and at home, and at work by those who want what’s best for me, who want to see me thrive. Feeling very blessed.

Mourning over a closed door, but rejoicing over the opened window now apparent — friendship within a circle of near neighbors. Not many weeks from now perhaps. Closer all the time, as we meet the neighbors, host the parties, pray for the spread of Truth and Mercy into our corner of the world. Trusting in God’s plan. Quite glad that He allows us glimpses of His wonderful plans — and sometimes allows us see just why His answer to our prayers was No.

These are the memories and reflections that jumble together when I think about the year 2010. It’s a mixed bag of hope, joy, sorrow, courage, and fear.

So . . . what was your year like, my blog readers and friends?