Tuesday, August 10, 2010

July 29, 2010: Earplugs.

For a traveler and a chronic insomniac, earplugs are a necessity. For this trip they have provided much needed bedtime silence from roosters crowing, dogs barking, crickets chirping, wind blowing my ill-fitted window and that annoying buzzing that mosquitoes pester you with just as you are about to fall asleep.

Every night for my time here, I have put in my earplugs and it has served as my mental signal to stop thinking about and internalizing all that I have witnessed that day and to sleep soundly. Tonight, the earplugs will have more significant importance. They will be my signal to stop thinking about the principal doling out the switch to tardy students in the school yard. As a teacher, I never want to see that sight again. It was humiliating for me, so I can't even imagine how it was for them.

My trusty earplugs will also be my signal to stop thinking about the destitute children and families we had the ultimate, fortunate experience to visit and deliver soccer balls and jerseys to. Although there is ALWAYS hope, it is my desire that my earplugs will help me filter out that the prognosis for most of these children isn't great.

However, on second thought, I may not use my earplugs tonight because I fear that they will muffle the sound and memories of some of the most beautiful singing and laughing of these same children. Yes, as bad as it may be for them, when we arrived to meet some of the beneficiaries of the SOS Children's Villages reach, they broke into the most genuine and heartfelt singing we will probably ever hear. We played collective games and we all laughed. We even danced which resulted in raucous laughter from the children. We must have looked pretty funny to them.

Tonight, the earplugs are on hiatus.

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