Friday, December 14, 2007

"Life ain't easy, it's hard"

Probably 20 years ago I read an article in Nat. Geographic about Jamaica and it closed with the quote that is our title. They were talking to a lady who made a living by buying fruits and vegetables from the farmers and reselling them at the market--what they call a huckster in the British islands. That was her reply to a question about her life.

Here in Puerto Rico life can be a burden. One of the brethren here, when asked how he is will always reply "luchando la buena batalla de la fe"--fighting the good fight of the faith. That always struck me, but I thought it was only his answer. As I've lived here longer, I've come to realize that most people, especially on the phone, when asked what they're doing will reply, "luchando" fighting--fighting for life. And even though life here is good, very good compared to most Caribbean countries, it is still a struggle every day, in everything you do.

Traffic here has gotten much worse since Thanksgiving--there is not a time we leave our urbanization that the traffic is not backed up through the intersection. In order to get across you must force your way through whatever little hole you can find, trusting that the oncoming traffic will not hit you. It took me 20 minutes to go the 1.5 miles to Burger King across the street today, and that was at 2 PM. We have a check we need to deposit (the bank is just down from Burger King) but I just don't want to fight the traffic to the bank and back. (Did I mention we were rear-ended for the second time yesterday since we got here in May?) We still don't have Puerto Rican driver's licenses because we haven't felt like taking the half a day to go get it--you have to fill out a 4 page form, get a medical exam, 3 passport photos (don't worry you can get these two in an office across the hall), but the kicker is that if your social security card is laminated you have to go to the Soc. Security office (who knows how long that will take) and get a letter certifiying your social security number (is really yours).

We've been doing some painting and putting up trim, which of course has required 3 or 4 trips to Home Depot. Yesterday we stopped at Quizno's (on the way) for lunch, went to Home Depot to get the last few things we needed, and stopped to pick up some signs (also on the way)--we were gone 2 1/2 hours.

The terrible thing is that on other islands it's even worse--there are only 2 cities in Dominica where you will find banks, so even if the brethren deposit your check in the States and you can get access with your debit card, it still requires a 3/4 - 1 hour trip each way to get to the bank. Fresh vegetables require you to either grow themyourself or go to the market on Saturday morning--depending on what you want, you may be able to get them in your village or you may have to go all the way to Roseau, the capital.

Yet despite all this, brethren still find time to worship God--in many places 4 or more times a week. What about you? Are you "too busy" to attend all the services of the church? What about when there is a Gospel meeting? What else do you do because you are a Christian?


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