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Bolivian Children

Children in San Pablo de los Guarayos, Bolivia

I hope that this can be the final installment of this little drama and I can get back to bashing Arizona and nudging Obama.

I have been thinking why I came to the missions. When I was looking at the Franciscans, the one ministry I really couldn’t see myself doing was the missions. “I’m too middle class,” I thought to myself. That challenge was undoubtedly one reason I chose to try it.

Also, when we started the Assisi Community back in 1985, I noticed that the people who seemed most committed to the work of justice were the ones who had spent considerable time among the people of the developing world. (Except, that is, for Marie Dennis, who seems to have arrived at it on her own.) A second reason I chose the missions was to educate myself to the realities of the world. The world looks very different from the perspective of the developing world — a view that most U.S. residents don’t have the privilege to see. I don’t know if it will have made me more effective, but I hope that it serves to motivate me for the years I have left.

A third cause was simply the people that I met when I first came to Cochabamba to study Spanish after the novitiate. Their friendship continues to sustain me and is one of the main reasons I hesitate to leave immediately.

The question now is whether I have met these challenges and it is, therefore, time to return to the belly of the beast. More and more, I think it is.

Meanwhile, here in Camiri, it is getting colder and colder. There is no indoor heat anywhere in Bolivia, except maybe the Radison hotel in La Paz, and so I am slowly adding more blankets to my bed. I’m up to three now and only have one left. I hope the cold breaks soon. Maybe, if I get back to the States soon enough, I can enjoy some of the beach. Wouldn’t that be a nice change!

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