The past few weeks have been utterly consumed, with great joy, varying degrees of complex schedules. I have felt a bit short in the área of expressing my routine life journey through words and photographs. Since taking to the Peruvian desert back in early February, I have returned with a sense of longing to continue to advocate in whatever form that is required to bring justice to the rights of those that I see suffering here in South America.
The previous dialogue that I just typed was at no point, random. However, in order to clear out my mental pathways that stick to the cortex of my brain, I need to take care of randomness. I am awaiting to eat a salad at the park, (I will not be eating grass from the park), rather am waiting for the clock to strike the hour before I lunge into a salad.
1.) Why do I crave food that is “bad” for me ?
2.) Why does the kitchen call my name only at nighttime ?
3.) Why do people who claim to love God seem to lavish gossip, slander, and backstabbing ?
4.) Why at the park do people come up to me and ask me if I am from France ?
5.) Why is it that people tip-toe around the emotions of others and not just say it blah outwardly ?6.) Why am I so obsessed with “gummy” vitamin C chewie things ?
7.) Why do people come and go out of our lives and we feel their presence forever?
8.) Why does going to run and do exercises so extremely painful emotionally before but then after, I feel like I just accomplished a great task ?
9.) Why the heck do I procrastinate for the agenda ítems that I know will improve my life?
10.) Why do certain smells bring back tear dropping memories upon my heart ?
Additionally, for the closure of the moment, why do the most engaging and thought provoking individuals live so far away from your physical reach ?
I think that covers my random thoughts for the day, or at least for the hour. Who knows? Perhaps by the time that I post this, I will need to add a few random thoughts that are pulsating through my dendrites and axons.
While advocating for education, the recent days are full of preparing for a medical team that is coming in August and we will all be cruising/floating down the Amazon River to reach the communities with medical and social services. What an amazing experience it will be, and after having taken the trip previously, I know that it will be one of the most rewarding adventures for all involved.
I was reflecting on the advocating that went down for me personally while I was staking it out in the Peruvian desert, pooing in a tire, and basically hanging with the neighbors. During this experience over 21 days, I managed to nail a nasty stomach infection, dehydration, and your classic boredom from staring at dunes for several weeks. Inclusive of those challenges, I also learned valuable lessons personally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
One of those days, I was humbled to travel with my friends over to the rock mines of Comas which is nestled in to the north of Lima brushed up against the foothills of the Andes Mountains. There, in that horrific place, children, as young as 4 and 5 are forced into slave labor, picking with sticks, and metal poles to slave away in the blazing South American sun. Trucks are filled up by these
children with rocks and the dump trucks are taken away to be sold to construction companies.
I have no idea where the money is exchanged and who handles the large amounts of cash that gets traded, but what I do know is that these children are exploited and forced to work. Only enough food to survive, and certainly not enough to grow and mature as the human body requires is what each receives. The injustice is alarming, shocking, and one that I cannot handle. We have been working with local officials in our attempts to eradicate this hell from the lives of these children. Sadly, the injustice is rooted and grounded so far into the culture of the system that breaking the system can be dangerous for those trying to apply pressure.
It is not right. I think about the randomness of my thoughts and I am quickly drawn to the stark and blinding reality that my thoughts on my random life are merely paled in ghostly paste of whiteness compared to the political, human, and social injustice that plagues human existence here in the rock mines of Comas.
A couple of friends of mine and I are planning our upcoming trip to the región of Tingo Maria, which is in the department of Huanuco within the deeper parts of the interior of Perú. There, the Shining Path Terrorist group and currently drug cartels run the región, handling all control of export and import of traffic. There, nestled in among the sugar cane and banana plantations are child slave labor factories. I have, since living in the desert come to realize that more injustice is happening there. We are traveling this month to investigate the modern day child slave labor camps and to attempt to dissolve the current system in place.
Why is it that the injustices that are so present and actively in my face are ones that must be weighed on the scales of safety? To travel deep into the región is dangerous, with drug cartels surely to be aware of our attempts to spring open the modern day child slave labor camps. However, these children are victims and no one else is doing anything about it. There are no advocacy groups fighting against the factory operations, nor the local politicians or pólice authorities that allow this atrocity to continue.
How can I weigh the options? To remain in the bubble of comfort, not risking the obvious for the possibility that others can be freed from poverty seems selfish. Why is it that we remain in comfort and our bubbles of safety when others die from the harsh conditions of their trapped lives? This is injustice. It cannot continue and we as human beings have the duty and the right to be the hands and feet of compassion, justice, and mercy to eradicate poverty, slavery, and injustice from the rigid hands of corruption. This is not randomness. This is our human duty and no one should sit in their comfortable bubble of life, sipping down the royalty of good luck when others are fighting to survive, avoiding starvation, abuse, and the sale of their lives to corruption at the hands of greed. We must be advocates and speak up for the rights of the poor and needy. If freeing others to receive education, hope, life, freedom to live and grow, then I count the risks as mere obstacles in the journey. I would rather risk the opportunity for others to be freed from slavery than worry about my own bubble of comfort being blown away.
It’s time to not just take care of randomness in my life, but its time to rise up and take care of the reality that knocks at the door of my heart. We cannot do this alone. It is time for us to join together and bring hope to the lives of those enslaved to the system of corruption. Let's do this together ?