fourth of july

Many of us have realized that this month (or in Laura’s case, two months) has been one of the greatest of our lives. For sure one of the best summer months ever. With working hard during the day and relaxing and bonding at night, loving the kids and volunteers nonstop, Manna breeds an environment that is like summer camp mixed with the peace corps. You serve and get served and love and get love, several times over every day. We are not wholly selfless- we have a pool, a house mom, and electricity despite our third world conditions. We are not selfish, either- we don’t have a TV set (to the disgust of many Nicas who watch telenovelas nightly) or air conditioning or a dishwasher. But what we’ve learned down here, among many other things, is that life is so much more than what you have (or what you don’t). And on the Fourth of July, a day where we wonder why Americans are so blessed (even the poor and hungry) and so fortunate, we can take a step back and just be thankful for it all. Our elections, while political and emotionally involved, are free from bloodshed or assassination. Our job market, while unsteady and chaotic, is at least able to provide for the majority of Americans and continues to provide a life above the world poverty line — unlike the workers in Chureca who live on less than $1 a day (called extreme poverty, and half of the world lives in that label). Our faith, while seemingly divided more and more each year with the onset of religions from Scientology to Kaballah to the church of people like Fred Phelps, at least allows peaceful coexistence...

Summer Volunteer