October 23, 2009

The Meat Market

If a visit to the local carnicería doesn’t make you want to become a vegetarian, I don’t know what will. Various types of animal flesh (aka – meat) can be seen hanging on metal hooks as you pass by. The sound of meat AND bone being cut serves as background music while waiting in line. What might typically be a huge distraction, had no power over me this morning. My mouth-watering while I patiently waited my turn, I had one thing on my mind – carnitas de chicharrones.

The meat guy (can't believe I don't even know his name) undoubtedly must have thought he had a stalker as I would make a visit to the little “tienda” everyday to request this delicious meat. His response each time was a heartbreaking "no" suggesting I come back a different time/day. However a few days ago he said to come back Friday at 9:30 am. And that is exactly what I did.

Finally my turn to be helped, I put in my request. He even nodded that they had them. Success!! Or so I thought. He took the juicy meat out of the pan and wrapped it. Then he dumped the crunchy leftovers on a piece of paper and handed it to me? Hmm…I must have said the name wrong. So I tried again and even pointed to the meat that I wanted. Not so much. He was saving it for someone else. Everyone in line chuckled and said I needed to get there earlier. How had I missed out on this? I came when he told me to?

More than frustrated, I paid 15 pesos for the hard crunchy somethings, rounded the corner and started sobbing. Realizing I was crying over something so small and petty only made me weep more. Thank goodness I had my phone on me. I called my sister for comfort, as she has lived in many different countries and can relate to the daily frustrations. Poor girl thought something serious had happened.

Days like these make me want to pack everything up and catch the next flight out of here. Not because they are sold-out of the meat that I want, but because I am reminded just how far I am from home, comfort, and conveniences.

Then there are times when a mere smile on a child’s face makes me want to stay forever. Or when 5th graders want to spout off every English word in their vocabulary to show just how much they have learned. These kids are precious to me and have become like my very own. I have found its the simple pleasures here that are able to soothe my soul and remind me of the ultimate goal.

I am grateful for the opportunity to teach in a place where education is not highly valued. Reflecting on how I even got here and am able to work for "free" is a clear reminder of His faithfulness in my life.

"He who calls you is faithful..." 1 Thes 5:24

1 comment:

Mandy said...

Hey Shanna,
I loved reading your story, and have now joined your blog, so that I can keep up with you. ;) I'm sorry about the meat - eventually you'll win that meat man over with your smile & he'll be wrapping up the good meat for you. I'm sorry, and know how alone it can feel sometimes in a place that just isn't "home" but I'm so proud of you/excited for you and the work you're doing.