We arrived back in Cyprus Friday morning, and one of my first thoughts was "wow, this traffic is orderly!" But I was here recently enough the first time (5 months ago now) to know that I didn't always feel this way. And the parents of one of our students here helped to remind me by saying how much less organized the traffic is here than Costa Rica. But compared to India, the traffic is tickety-boo.
I have pictures of the Cyprus river valley from the first few weeks I was here, pictures taken to capture what I thought was a mass amount of garbage in a beautiful place. My thoughts yesterday as I walked the same valley? Man, it's clean here... sparkling, even, compared to India. You should see one picture I have of a residential area near the slums we worked in. I learned that the song "don't put your junk in my backyard, my backyard's full" can be literal.
In the last few weeks, I saw the faces of people I had only read about before I was in India. The 6 year old bride. The beggar whose employee amputates his limb so that people give him more money. The many children who have been sold by their parents to live on the street. The 8 year old shopkeeper. I have seen their faces and have had nothing to give them - no language, no communication, no clear concept of hope. But by grace for a few weeks I could walk alongside and help those that offer something real, something more. The need in India is more obvious than anything I've ever seen before in terms of sheer numbers. People there offering hope in any capacity are desperate for help. The harvest may be plentiful... the labourers are very few.
Today I'm back in Cyprus. I haven't blown black boogers out of my nose for over 24 hours; even though it's been 2 days since I've showered, I'm feeling pretty clean; it's been nice to give my sleeping bag a break (and a wash:)); the machine does a much better job getting dirt out of clothes than I do. But I did not suffer in India - I only stood close enough to observe those that do. There is much my mind and heart has left to process because of this experience. Anything I've written here is only the very tip of the iceberg. I don't mean to sound like it was hard - obviously from the examples of the other people in this posting, for me it was not. It's all relative... and from my perspective from what I've seen and experienced I have it pretty good. So enjoy your traffic and your available outdoor garbage cans today - I know I will!