Friday, July 18, 2014

Affordable Care Act and Foreign Living: Day 1,465

The Affordable Care Act (or "Obamacare") is something that has sparked a lot of controversy in the US.  "Every American will have health care!"  I get it.  I do.  Everyone has the right to life.  But what about us Americans who live outside of the country?  What about those of us who live in countries with health care so inexpensive that we just don't bother with medical insurance?  Don't worry...they thought about that.  Americans who spend over 330 days per year outside of the US do not need medical insurance.  (I'm still not sure how they figure that out.)  But what does this mean for me as my parents get older?  What does this mean for me if there is some emergency in my family and I need to go to the US to help take care of things?  So, from over 2,000 miles away--and with the help of my mother--I registered for Government Health Care and was accepted.  I am not proud of the fact that I now take your tax dollars just so I can be in the country for more than 35 days of the year.  I'm actually quite ashamed...that the United States is denying their own citizens the right to be in their own country.  As my own mother recently said (in reference to something else): "They can't really keep you out."  Maybe not, mom, but they sure can make it difficult to be there.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mission Moment: July

 So, I've been back in Guatemala about 2 weeks at the time of writing this. And when I was there planning on being here, I had all sorts of plans such as meeting with my communities my first full-week back and putting the shelves in my other bookcase (which I was missing the supports to and bought while I was in the US).
Then I started reading about the bad news: tropical storm. I have a slightly leaky roof. There's no hole in it; so there's not really anything anyone can do to fix it. I tend to keep a bucket under it and empty the bucket on a regular basis...I was hoping it would survive 2 weeks of rain, but not with a tropical storm. So, I came home to a slightly flooded upstairs including my dirty clothes pile which I hadn't had a chance to wash due to my last-minute trip out of the village; that was now moldy. A neighbor boy said he'd be over to help me install the washing machine I just bought cheap from someone who was leaving the country, but he still hasn't found the time.
In the meantime, I decided to fix up that other bookcase, and I found that the pegs were too small. Using wonderful logic skills, I decided that the boards would hold the pegs in place and proceeded to put the shelves and books in anyway. The brilliant person I am, I decided to start from the top and work down. (There actually was logic to this as I would be able to see the underside of each shelf easier doing it in this fashion; why I put the books on right away, I'm not sure.) The result was two shelves worth of books smashing my thumb. Fortunately, there's a nurse on the corner who assured me it wasn't broken and splinted it for me.
Now the thumb is mostly back to normal, some of the clothes have been washed by hand and dried, and I'm swamped with stuff to get done before I spend all of next week translating for a group. The road to the village is particularly dangerous right now because of all the rain; there's a high probability of mudslides. That being said, it's probably best I can't go out until the week after this anyway. At least my oven is working properly as I love to serve my neighbors by making them baked goods.
Sometimes mission life looks a lot like regular life. I hope to have some more stories about the families for you soon!

Language Learning
One member suggested sharing with you all some of the excitement I deal with when I work with the indigenous people. Guatemala has 24 national languages: Spanish, 21 Mayan languages, and 2 non-Mayan indigenous languages. The people who I am primarily working with at the current time are Kaqchikel Mayans. Their language is Kaqchikel. So, I'll be taking some time each newsletter to share with you a tiny piece of their language. As Kaqchikel is not particularly a written language, I won't always be able to give you the spelling of the words, but I'll try to give you a pronunciation.

“Thank you” in Spanish is “Gracias” which you pronounce “Grah-see-ahs.” In Kaqchikel, it is “Matiox” which you pronounce “Mah-tee-osh.” “Matiox” was one of my first words in Kaqchikel because it's always good to be polite!

The Care and Keeping of a Missonary

It was really great seeing many of you during my visit! Thank you for your prayers. It's always wonderful to have a chance to visit with you all and share personally what I'm doing, including some of the challenges I face. I love the feedback I get from you as well! I mentioned to some of you that I might be visiting in November; I do not know yet if that will be happening. I should know by the time I write my next article; so stay tuned! God bless you all!