370 days. The craziest 370 days of my life. Its about time I began documenting some of what goes on here.
Yesterday, we began a cooperative of 5 young beggars. I could tell you the how and why. I could give you the plans, the goals, the strategy. I could tell you how difficult the first day was, when we realized we were dealing with young adults who had barely been taught how to hold a pencil, let alone learn a new art form. But I’d prefer to document what went on in my head and let the results of this effort speak for themselves.
Today, I realized that I’m fortunate enough to have been shown how to write my name.
Today, I realized that I am blessed to never have been beaten by my brother or my father, or any men in my life for that matter.
During the planning stages, this type of start-up seems so simple and romantic - a no-brainer. Wouldn’t anyone want to get 15 and 16 year olds off the streets so they stop begging and stop selling themselves for sex and other horrific schemes that their money-hungry handlers force them into? Wouldn’t it just be great if we could teach them a trade and then sell their products so that they can go home with pay every day and not have to beg or be beaten up?
But when you begin to get close to the poor, you actually see what “poor” is. Its not just about not having money.
Getting up close and personal to the poor changes me. I realize how blessed I am that I have been taught how to read, write, follow instructions, communicate, obtain an education, learn multiple trades, earn money, start a business to help the poor...I really did nothing to deserve the life I got dealt. All I can think to do is try to connect these young artists to the blessings that I have...blessings coming out my ears really, so many blessings that I can’t imagine hoarding them all to myself.
Last night, Micah (my 5 year old son) and I were driving home from getting some groceries. He noticed a man on the side of the road that was balancing on 2 crutches because he didn't have legs. Micah stared as we drove by him. Then, he turned and looked up at me and said, "Mama, I'm glad I have legs."
That's what this place is doing to us. David and I had a long talk last night for "date night". We have changed. Our kids have changed. Our eyes have been opened. Realizing our blessings and then doing something about how lopsided this world is...that's what we feel compelled to do. How can you not feel compelled when you've seen it and lived it. It’s hard sometimes, but it is so good.