Where do you see yourself in the future?
What do you dream of?
Something heavier than what your vocabulary can convey
Something on the tip of your tongue, you can’t quite say
Even more than what you’ve been given permission to dream
Beyond the horizons of the coffee fields and lush, green mountains
A beautiful, natural beauty
That on some days look more like your prison walls
What burdens do you carry?
Do you dream of carrying books
Instead of water jugs and firewood?
Carrying the weight on your shoulders, assuming guilt
For the adults in your life and their decisions past
Growing up much too fast
Never questioning the injustice
Never once uttering a “Not fair!”
Coming home from backbreaking labor in the coffee fields
Sore feet, broken ambitions
Passing neighborhood friends
On their way home from class
They with their backpacks, you with your plastic bucket
Accepting your fate
Never daring to challenge the way things are
Your vision stretches as far as your reality allows
An inferiority you’ve breathed day in and day out
With your tired lungs
Since the day you arrived on the earth
An inferiority as thick as smoke that never dissipates
Him, her, whoever else is out there in this big world
Less than the grown-ups
Less than the boys
Less than the white skin
Less than the educated and the rich
You never considered the damage
That breathing in this smoke of inferiority would do
Why can’t you see yourself like I see you?
The smoke and mirrors game of those in power
Clouds your vision, chokes your breath
And you assume that everyone plays by the same rules
Can you imagine a God who sees your inherent worth?
Who has plans of hope and not of harm
Who knew you (and wanted you!) even before your birth
Who carries your burdens in His arms
The flooding of things
The house in the dark during rainy season
The terror and anxiety that a storm brings
Dirt floors turning to mud through cracks in the roof and cracks in the walls
A life with cracks no one bothers to patch anymore
The flooding of emotions that you eventually learn to stop
You learn quickly to control the little things
The very few things you can, in an out-of-control world
A conditioning, an adapting to a harsh environment
The washing away of the vulnerability and fear and caring
Leaving a bare soul, jaded
A life-education very few could bear
The invading of personal spaces
Critters and humans taking advantage of weakness
Survival of the fittest
Fitting in your role
Survival of the lowest expectations
And you learn to expect abuse and the dismissing of wants and sometimes needs
Dulling memories of sharp violence reinforce it all
Privacy is a rarity
The power to choose, a luxury
With babies on hips, no protest on lips
It starts with baby brothers and sisters but soon the babies will be your own
No emotion is valid so there’s no value in expressing them
Why would your life be any different than your mother and her mother?
Why would you dare to dream of any other?
Could it be that anyone out there has your best interest in mind?
Could it be that someone out there cares without ulterior motive?
You have permission
For what it’s worth, I give you permission
To see beyond your limited horizon
To dream of something new
We have just founded a nonprofit organization called VER International (501c3 status pending), committed to breaking cycles of poverty through community development initiatives. We are currently working in rural communities of Honduras with the hope to expand to other countries in the future. Our website and social media accounts are “under construction” at the moment but we will have our official launch soon!
For the month of October we are launching a student sponsorship fundraiser. With a one-time donation of $50 marked “Student Sponsorship” you will give the gift of education for one year to a student in rural Honduras, like Little Paola. Look us up on PayPal by our email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, or go straight to our link to give: www.paypal.me/verinternational
Comment or message me if you would like these flyers to help promote among your church or school groups.