Postcards from Camichines Part III: Flexibility

Plans are nice. I really like plans and to-do lists and knowing what’s up before it happens.

That’s not how things work down here.
So these posts are not going to be live. The wireless is not as plentiful here as previously described. Which is actually become one of my favorite parts of the week so far–being unplugged and off the grid. Everyone on our team is focused on our tasks and each other and our time with God rather than what may or may not be going on at home. (Although there are three of us down here that have missed the Bachelor finale and I’m dying to know if Juan Pabs chose Crazy or Clueless to be his awfully wedded wife!)
Actually, a lot of things have not been a previously expected.
Turns out, there is a dress code down here which has limited my limited wardrobe significantly. Also, even though there is a lot of work to be done here, it is not plentiful as I expected.
So we’ve all had to learned to adjust. 
And it is so good! Seriously, the slower pace, the lack of distraction over my wardrobe–I am learning a ton through this week and we’re barely at the half-way point.
Taking a break for drinks and shade
I have written previously about my struggle with clothing and significance. This week has just revealed to me more how much stock I put into that still. There have been few moments in which I have felt ‘lovely’ or smelled like something resembling that this week as we work in the heat and dust and chaff. I showered last night only to discover dust still in my ears and the fact that I forgot q-tips.

This grimy shirt and these sweaty jeans and this unexpected down-time are teaching me a lot about my brokenness and the way I have been living my life as of late. These things are all manifestations of my desire for more. My desire to serve myself.
Down here, I am learning not to care what I look like because honestly, it has not changed this experience at all. In fact, I can tell you that I’ve probably had a better time without the distraction of ‘being cute’. I’m more useful in these re-worn clothes then I would have been in the running shorts and tank-tops I had planned to wear. I have been able to dive into any messy task–hefting bricks, sifting corn, working in dust and not being concerned for the safety of my skin or the state of my clothing. I just am. It’s nice. Freeing, actually.
As far as the work goes, I came down here geared up for non-stop work all week long. In reality, it’s been a lot of hurry up and wait. Not because there isn’t work to be done, but because there are somethings here that are more important. When a task is finished, there may not be supplies for the next one yet, or someone else must complete their task before we can start the next thing. 
There is also more of an emphasis on relationships rather than getting things done a quickly as possibly. Earlier, the guys went to pick up some equipment from a man in the village. The director of the home began talking with a man from the village that was loaning said equipment. Before the guys knew it, the director left to buy a bottle of Pepsi for their small little group to enjoy as they chatted.

I finished with a task this morning and was approached by a couple of the little guys to read a book. We spent yesterday afternoon playing with the kids on the swing-set rather than continuing with the corn (so much corn!!!)

Story-time with a couple new buddies
It’s weird. And beautiful. Everything has been getting done quickly, but we have also been given time to enjoy one another and relax. I’ve been exhausted at the end of the day, but never stressed. I feel really healthy down here and that’s been nice.
I need to be more flexible and this week has been a wonderful exercise in that. I’ve been thinking of ways to incorporate some of this feeling into my regular life. If any of you have been able to do this, please let me know. I am loving this simplicity!

God has been so good and we’ve barely reached that half-way mark. I am loving this place. Also, tomorrow I’m teaching a writing class–super pumped for this!


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