These are in the order that I discovered them, not order of importance.
1. Roosters only crow at sunrise. I quickly found this to be untrue. Or I should say my sleeping routine did. They crow at night, in the morning, and pretty much all throughout the day. I have to say that after a couple days back home, I still expect to hear them everywhere.
Thanks to Katie Hawkins for the video.
2. Poor people are sad. The people I saw there seemed to be enjoying life. They may not have everything they need or want, but they do enjoy what they have. I saw a lot of laughing and smiling. The really seemed happier than most people I know here in the US. That old saying 'Money can't buy happiness' is very true. We have money and lots of people around here aren't happy. They don't have so much of it, but they were pretty happy. Happiness is not a reflection of your socioeconomic status. It is a decision that you make.
3. Uninvolved parents aren't a problem. Most of these kids come from crappy home backgrounds and their parents are not involved in their day to day life. We say, 'Oh that's a bad thing.' But do we really mean it. When I'm working more than I need to and I'm not home to play with Ben, do I know it then? Do I know it when I'm trying to watch a TV show instead of reading him a book? I think I forget this way too often. One kid had a birthday while we were there and his mother called. He and his brother ran top speed to get to the phone and talk to their mom. Another child got in the arm during a soccer game. It hurt him quite a bit. He went over to the corner of the patio crying. He needed his mom to put him in her lap, give him a big hug, and let him cry for a minute. I would love to tell you I stepped right up and did that. But I have to be honest and say that I was overwhelmed. I saw his need so clearly and I felt TOTALLY underqualified. I should have done something and I didn't. The whole thing just makes me sad.
4. People in 3rd world countries don't care about their country. We may not consciously say these things, but in our heads we think them. We hear stories and think, "How can they let this go on?" They don't just let it go on. They do care about what is happening, but they are not equipped to deal with. Maybe because of a lack of education, maybe because of government corruption, maybe because of a bunch of other stuff that I don't understand. But I know what I heard and that was an incredible prayer from an incredible pastor that brought me to tears. He was praying very passionately for his country to be a fair and just country for everyone. We should pray like that more often for our own country.
5. You have to speak the language to communicate. Two of the women that went with us did not speak Spanish at all, but they communicated. Hand gestures and tones of voice go a long way. But even more than that, they loved on these kids. And that needs no language.
6. You can wear it right away. No washing necessary. I generally live by this rule, but my blue wrist now tells me that I shouldn't. Oops!
7. Kids have no imagination these days. With two jump ropes, these kids jumped rope, played limbo, played high jump, and had jet packs. They had TONS of imagination and loved to use it. A more accurate statement might be kids that spend all their time tethered to technology have no imagination.
A drawing one of the kids made with the rain water in a puddle. I thought it was super creative!
8. Accepting love is easy. Giving love can be easy sometimes. It certainly was this week, but accepting it is not. These kids did an AMAZING job of letting us love on them. Their acceptance and openness to loving and being loved showed me just how closed off we are as Americans. Our "do it yourself" mentality extends as far as our hearts. That is unfortunate.
There is lots more that I learned, but I haven't processed it all. So the coming weeks will be filled with more lessons to share. In case you are interested in a few more thoughts, check out what Katie Hawkins had to say.