Welcome to the theme park of emotions. Forget what you've heard about a rollercoaster: this is a full-out park equipped with popcorn and barf bags. We have mornings of smiles, with pure laughter and rows of teeth, and spend our evenings in tears, heartbroken over the things we've witnessed.
Our bodies are just shells of flesh at this point, that we are continually feeding carbs and enforcing stress upon. These past 2 days we've cycled our Paraguayan-coloured groups (White, Red, and Blue) between the school, the church, and the nutrition centre. It has exhausted us mentally, as we struggle to comprehend the reality of the impoverished; emotionally, as sobs and smiles happen simultaneously in this environment; and certainly physically, as we spend our days as piggybacking machines and our evenings as CIS volleyballers. It's like nothing we've been forced to experience before.
Today, Team Blue visited Genesis church (which Sarah blogged about a few posts ago). Our visit began with the initial semi-awkwardness and fear-of-trmapling-the-children that all our days have been marked with. We got a tour of the brick moulded building, and some of us became well acquainted with the bathroom as the stress of culture began to set in. We sat our long limbs in the kindergartener chairs as we devastatingly heard about the unkept promises of education for most children of the community. We heard about the lack of paper with printed faces on it that meant life or death, education or food, for every member in that part of town. We were then pulled from our seats by small, filth-covered hands for a celebration of a miracle; a celebration of life.
Our dance floor was a volleyball court, and our music was an awful high-pitched hamster singing that was clearly geared towards a children's audience. Our dance partners outnumbered us 18:1 and fashioned the brightest colours their wardrobes contained. There were moments of international hilarity and being embarrassingly white. There were especially moments of prayer and joy, as God has been working a miracle in the lives of one of the little Genesis girls. Melisa (aged 6) had contracted dengue, which is similar to yellow fever but has no immunization or medication. This disease is unfortunately a product of her environment; a co-creation between humid temperatures and mosquito-attracting garbage. When Team White had visited just 2 days ago, Christy said her immediate family was already mourning her death and had practically no signs of hope. Today, instead of death, there was dancing. There was the union of small hands and big hands in both prayer and dance partnership.
Among many, many other things that happened that I cannot find the words to write about at 3 am, it was a day of simply so many emotions. I will finish this post tomorrow, with muchos informationos about our firsthand tour of the slums of Paraguay. Please pray for this small Genesis church as it is positively impacting so many children's lives, and is struggling to make financial ends meet. Please also keep us in your thoughts as tomorrow we travel to Chaco to play some volleyball games and get in touch with indigenous communities there. Adios!
PS - we are having some technological difficulties with a) posting pictures and b) actually finding internet, so apologizes for the lack of communication that happened yesterday and may possibly happen in the future!