Ashes and Happiness

What are the things that make kids happy? Barbie dolls, iPads, McDonald’s, XBox, Legos, Hoverboards, and the list is never ending. These toys and inanimate objects never really satisfy them, because by Christmas they need a whole new bunch of toys. Imagine sending these children outside to play on an ash covered road with only a worn out soccer ball. How long do you think this would entertain them? 15 minutes? 30? I would say that it would be less than 10 minutes before at least one of them started to complain about something. “It’s too hot”  “I haven’t gotten the ball” “I’m bored”. To be fair here, does it sound enjoyable to anyone to spend your day in the heat of the sun with ash on everything? It is definitely not my first choice, and I can guarantee that this doesn’t sound like even the slightest bit fun to you either. But to the children of Guatemala, this is the best day ever. Kicking around a ball with a few of their friends couldn’t be more perfect; their surroundings don’t bother them. This could entertain them for hours, maybe even days! Hey, if you throw a few gringos into the mix, nothing could make them happier.

I have been here for two weeks, and it has been so apparent to me how consumed we are, as a culture into materialistic items. My question is, at what point did we decide simple wasn’t enough? We should be spending less on that next round of toys, and using that money towards something greater. Most Guatemalans can’t even afford clean water, let alone a new batch of toys for their kids every year. When did we decide that it was okay to always need more, to never be content with what we are already privileged to have?

Guatemala was just hit by the volcano, Fuego. Most people lost all their crops, their money, their family members. And yet they still keep their heads held high; their trust in God is strong. They have so much hope, when really the chances are low for a recovery. Guatemala was already on its knees, but Fuego pushed them to the ground; there they will stay if our world continues on its current path. How? How can they be filled with so much satisfaction when they literally have nothing. Nothing! Oh wait, I take that back, they do have some. They have car siding as their walls, and dirt as their flooring. They have a hanging trash bag as a makeshift bed for the baby. They have two twin beds for three generations of a family. Instead of a roof, they have the “privilege” to see the sky and all the flies. They don’t have to deal with the financial struggle because they don’t have the money! How do we allow ourselves to come to our homes at night and complain about not having the newest iPhone? Why is it okay for kids to constantly need more? “I need the new Call of Duty update” “I need this picture for my instagram”. When will it be enough? When will someone finally say, “I’m gonna go kick around a soccer ball outside”?

I am so thankful and privileged to see this, to see how unhealthy our lifestyle is. And I feel absolutely blessed that I was able to go outside and kick around a soccer ball with a couple of Guatemalan kids. I was so happy that I was allowed to be apart of their happiness, and that I was allowed to be covered in ashes alongside of them.


More Articles in This Topic