Friday, April 2, 2010

Days of preparation

It's hard to believe that in two months, ready or not, I will be hopping on a plane, making use of my one-way ticket to Guatemala (and then going on to El Salvador after a month of Spanish class). There is so, SO much to do between now and then, not least of which being 1) graduate (finish my thesis, etc.) and 2) move out of my house.

On the thesis end of things, it has been a challenge working on a topic so dear to my heart and so related to my upcoming work without getting distracted with thoughts of what I'll soon be doing. (I probably should have chosen a more boring topic, though that would come with its own sad challenges!)

One thing that I'm excited about is this notion that I will be doing the work of liberation theology, but it won't look like I'm 'doing' theology at all. That is one of the (many) beauties of the LT framework - it reaches deep into the ordinary and makes sacred the work of fostering life. So leading workshops on cooperative games (ie, games where there are not winners and losers, but just kids having fun and learning from each other) in a context of fairly prevalent violence becomes, hopefully, a means of supporting a different way of interacting. (In other words: playing parachute games = God's work. *This is my kind of math.*)

To be sure, this is not going to be some sort of "Dangerous Minds" (or "The Blind Side"?) remix, where the chela comes in an saves the kids from their oppressively violent home situations. [Side note: Jaime Escalante died this week - I am really sad about this.] I'm just as in need of dismantling my dependence on violence as anyone else. I hope that I can be a teacher to the kids I work with, but I would imagine they'll teach me a whole lot more.

Plus, the violence taking place there is so very US-exported. It's left over from the Civil War; it's a result of the migration crisis; it comes back as gang violence with a fair number of the young people deported daily from the US. Our hand in creating the violence is much bigger than our hand in 'solving' it. (Always the question: How do we put people up onto crosses? It seems especially appropriate to ask this today.)

But in the midst of this, I am so thrilled to be going. I look forward to working with Sister Peggy and the programs at El Centro Arte para la Paz. I am excited about getting to know the community in Suchitoto and the surrounding towns. I desperately hope that my Spanish improves (it'd better, given where it's at right now). I'm looking forward to doing some teaching and some farming, some discerning of where I might be headed.

I realized when I was leaving Holden Village at the end of spring break that the water in Rail Road Creek can't see beyond the bend in the creek bed. But it still keeps moving. That's the corny metaphor for my life right now.

[Since I'm just firing this up again, a quick note to those who get this via email: I haven't changed the list, so if you'd prefer not to be on it, tell me. I won't be offended in the least. Just let me know!]