Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hello! =)

So I know I'm really bad at this whole blogging thing. I'll admit, I don't like blogging too much anymore. But I have committed to updating everyone about what's going on and I think the boys have probably done a much better job about letting you know what's going on since they're so determined to do their blogs frequently. I, too, must commit to this as I know it will help you guys know what's going on and it can serve as a way for me to journal about my experiences. I guess my issue is how much I'm allowed to say. I think that's why I've been avoiding this. How much am I allowed to say on this? I know when I get excited, I tend to ramble on and on. I'd hate if my blog got blocked because of my enthusiasm.

Okay, I rambled on for a long time. I'll give you an update about what's been going on.

In HK, I got to see some pretty cool things. It was basically our time of rest. We went to stay at this organization in HK and helped out there for the next 2 1/2 weeks. Although we did a lot of practical things, and I'll say I got challenged doing things that I didn't think I would do, the experience was worth it. The people were the ones who made it worth it. You could see how JC shined through them, whether they knew it or not. And there goal is to serve the poor and the needy. They want to be JC's hands and feet and it's crazy hearing the stories of G's providence and sovereignty. He always came through when something was needed. This group receives donations from all over the HK area and sends them to charities and places around the world such as orphanages, schools, etc. They take one person's 'junk' and becomes others' treasures. This stuff is in no way junk. They get really good quality things and when they don't, of course they will remove those items. So it's like 'treasure' is being sent all over the world to people in need. G is providing for these people and both sides can attest to that! =)

Another thing that we got to experience while we were there was something called a slum experience. We only spent a few hours making paper bags trying to scrape by to live, but this is the reality of the lives of people in slums. We pushed ourselves to make as many bags as possible, as good quality as possible and then sold them to the store keepers. The store keepers completely took advantage of us .. there were no set prices. If the bags weren't good enough quality, they would just rip them up. They stole from us and even wanted us to do what could be interpreted as special favours (of course it was just like a hug, but we know in real life it wouldn't have just been a hug). So this is the reality of hundreds of thousands of people. The stats they gave us were 1 billion people live on less than $1 US dollar a day and 2 billion people live on less than $2 US dollars a day. They also gave us the stats of the real paper bag industry. An average person working for 10-12 hours a day can make about 200 sellable bags which they will on average receive 1.5 rupees for 22 bags. 1.5 rupees is about 25 cents US? Maybe a bit less. These people are working 10-12 hour days and of course, no breaks, no time to socialize, no time to really connect with their family ... they need to keep making to survive. Can you imagine working 10-12 hours a day making paper bags out of scrap paper and flour water as your glue, and out of your hard days work, only 200 are sellable which you would only get about 13.64 rupees ($2.27 US). My group found that we couldn't get by on just making paper bags. We had bags stolen from us, ripped up and we had to beg, literally beg, the store owners to give us a better price. There is no such thing as bargaining, you are at the mercy of these store owners. And our group was lucky, no one ever got sick, but we still had to do 'special favours' to get by. Of course they seem harmless in these situations because it's just a hug or a shoulder massage, but in real life, many go into it not knowing what they are getting into or worse, they have no choice because they need this money. They were telling us stories of how some store owners require a favour before they give you any money at all for the bags. That's disgusting! I learned a lot from that experience and my heart broke only so much more because I felt so helpless. How do we help these people? I'm not sure what this all means right now to me in my life at this time, but I do know I want to create awareness about it. If any of you are ever in HK area, I really suggest that you visit this organization. They also had stimulation games that can help you walk through the eyes of a refugee (which we didn't get to try) and aids (which we did). The aids experience was quite a scary experience. The life I happened to be walking down was one of choice whereas the other ones were of circumstance. It seemed so unfair because, although once you contract it .. it is a terrible disease, but this person contracted it through choice rather than circumstance. He could have prevented it, but he chose to live that life. And it wasn't like he did anything crazy, he just slept with his gf who previously had a lot of partners and she contracted aids. It's one of those stories that you just never know until something bag happens you know. And this is such a reality all over the world. We live as if nothing can ever harm us, but then sometimes we have to face the consequences of our mess ups. Really. If you're ever in HK, let me know and I can hook you up to that place. It is COMPLETELY worth it!

Okay, I rambled for a long time. I'm back now and we're just readjusting back to life. Please keep in your thoughts all three of us, especially Jon though because he has bronchitis. Mike and I are starting to get sick, but it's not so bad. Things also really start up next week, so please think about our interactions with people.

Thanks so much. I'll try to write more often! Take care everyone! =)