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Journal 8

Service Learning

Checking my email today was good. As I was in the nice internet café below the 2nd floor restaurant that we frequent in Chichicastenango, a shoeshine boy came up to me with the typical, "Shoe shine, mi amiga?" Apparently he had failed to look at the grubby, tattered sneakers on my feet. After my overused, halfhearted "No, gracias" he proceeded to plop down on his shoe shining block beside my chair and intently watched the computer screen and my fingers as I read and wrote my letters. He left for a little, but was soon back to watch. I had mixed emotions, feeling happy that I could provide such captivating entertainment so simply, yet being very aware of how close he sat to my backpack and trying to make sure his little, black polish-stained hands didn't end up where they didn't belong.

Why is it, God, that you chose me to be the one sitting on the chair at the computer, and him to be the observer sitting on a shoe shining block with worn clothes and grubby hands? Why is it this way and not the other way around? I am so grateful for the riches and opportunities You have given me, yet as a US citizen I'm realizing it's hard for me to look at the world with eyes wide open and to admit that life is far from being fair. It's uncomfortable to face. In the states I don't have to think about it at all, but here in Guatemala I'm surrounded by faces, images, lives, and a history that screams "Welcome to the real world where life is unfair, uneasy, but can still be beautiful in it's own, simple way." I hope my eyes stay open when I return home and I don't take my blessings for granted, or else what was the point? I want to always remember the shoeshine boy and what he represents in my life.

-Sara Brenneman

Photo galleries:
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Gallery 7

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Gallery 4

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Gallery 1