This is the third of a four-part series entitled I Am the Developing Person. This is an unedited account of a personal journey and will be followed by stories from a few more of my international volunteer trips. Many of the experiences on these trips would become the impetus for founding UniversalGiving™. You can see additional photos here.
A Simplified Room
Often when I am abroad, and I stay in a simplified room.
A thin woven bedspread. White or cream painted walls. A simple mirror; two local paintings; perhaps, maybe, a small plant kindly placed. A gentle embroidered mat underneath a plastic tray, with a cup of water on the table. A Modest, flatly filled, flat flattened pillow.
You lie on your back and feel as if you have been cleansed. There is not much to organize, be distracted by. There is not a T.V., a menu, writing paper or a commercialized welcome card. And there is not usually a room key.
It’s just a room.
Sometimes my rooms have been a very tiny, thin converted windowlesscloset with a broom in the corner. Sometimes my floor is cement, and I learn to feel its softness, or gentle roughness against my feet.
Sometimes, when I come back home to the United States, I am overwhelmed.
The softness of my sheets; the pad of my bed
The blue tile of the bathroom that gleams in color
The water which comes out immediately hot
A luxury of itself, its
Toilet paper, which is
On a roll
A holder for Kleenex
Flowers, in a bathroom….
Shutters which open and close
Shutters whose flaps are clean.
Toilets that flush fully the first time.
That are white.
It’s almost as if our toilets here are treated with extreme kindness, care… kid gloves
There is silence, clean air
It feels as if someone is taking care of me
Who takes care of them
And there is no squeaky
As I turn on the water
To wash my face
Grateful, grateful I am for hot water, water warm, on my face
Grateful of not just a kind home but kind parents who love, love me, love home, I love them, love our home
And there is a wash cloth
And my nose jolts as the scent, fine, of a sweet soap with a fragrance
Opposed to the drier rougher soap for some days
And I am bit stiffened to take in the high level of this soap
And I cannot stop thinking about
That I saw
That I didn’t see
Who will never smell this soap
Who wonder what a real bed is like
Who have never pondered
This time what shook me was putting 2, and 2, and 2 and 2 and 2 and 2 and 2 together from numerous trips. I had seen the poverty before… but now, it all came together.
I realized that
What we experience in the United States
What people experience in
Is an overwhelming anomaly
And I stay silent
I stay even more silent
And try to appreciate the Heaven that is present in both worlds
For both have love in different ways
You can take action.
Give $25 and bring water to villagers
Give $100 to provide a student with housing