Well ladies and gents, your trusty bronze-medaled, women's volleyball Spartans are leaving the country. We're off to Paraguay alongside Athletes in Action to help fight poverty and spread God's love. We're using our sport as a platform as we're helping in orphanages, food stations, and whatever else God calls us to do. Our team is leaving April 26th and returning on May 9th, and this is where we'll be documenting all of our experiences and thoughts. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

(Material) Poverty

I have never seen barbed wire used as fence before besides in concentration camps and prisons. I have especially never seen barbed wire used voluntarily to protect one's property. The wires and the homemade landfills were our greeting cards to their neighbourhood.
They were junkyard houses. They were not behind a TV screen on TLC or on a World Vision commercial, but in a tangible physical state. Walls of tin thinner than soup cans. Roofs of plastic composed of chip bags and ex-umbrellas. Absolutely nothing that can stand the test of time, Paraguayan rain, or disease. They were literal sheets of paper in comparison to the land; paper with no composure and a tendency to wash away in the rain. The houses were complemented by the earth of unforgiving red and the waste of past generations. A tiny suffocating stream choked through the line of houses and acted as a carrier of disease. What should resemble life, freshness, and cleanliness instead brought dengue and dirt. It housed an entire community's past as every piece of once-used plastic was disposed of here. The layers of soil alternated between garbage and clay. There were gardens of plastic and streams of junk.
Despite the hoards of of junk and evidence of human life, it is practically impossible to imagine daily life in this place. We are simply tourists for one day in their reality. I cannot imagine calling a shack of plastic and dirt my homestead. I cannot believe that these establishments of absolute filth are someone's shelter, someone's security, someone's "home sweet home". My narrow-minded Western perspective fails to understand how lives are sustained and days are repeated in such forsaken conditions.

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