Today I had experiences which reminded me of a book I read a very long time ago, but had a profound influence on how I viewed the world. The book is titled, Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. It is a totally funky story told by a gorilla, but worth the read if you can find it. Basically, it illustrated two kinds of people in the world; the takers and the leavers. The takers are those who feel entitled; the world owes them something. They are the people who take advantage of the world around them. They feel their environment is there for their use. Then there are the leavers who try to live within their environment and make the least impact upon it. They are the ones who live eco-friendly lives and appreciate the fruits of nature. Leavers look for sustainability; takers for exploitation. Leavers work with what they have and care for their environment, while takers harvest forest land, and jungles for their own benefit without commitment to sustainability.
We have a friend in Los Organos who is suffering from breast cancer. We met her on one of our first visits to Vichayito. She was an employee of the hotel where we were staying. She developed stomach cancer and was let go from her job at the hotel because she could not keep up. And, when she went for medical care, she found she didn’t have insurance because she had been let go. So all of her expenses came out of pocket. A year later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Having depleted her savings, this new diagnosis was devastating. She approached us and asked for help with the cost of her treatment. Against the advise of all our friends, we relented and have supported her through surgery and chemotherapy. Today, her daughter called to say that her mother needed some money for a test. She was already in the hospital in Piura, and needed the money NOW.
I was studying for my spanish class when the first call came through. Thanks to caller ID, I knew who was calling….and, in this case, why they were calling. I ignored a couple of calls and read one message that told me this was “urgent” business. I continued to ignore the calls, but they were relentless. I finally relented and answered. This is when my mind said….taker. And this is probably true. But, once we began on this path of helping her through this cancer…I can’t see how we extricate ourselves from it. And truly, S/.100 here and there is not much to us….but it does add up.
Ana is here and will stay through next Monday. Water was restored to her house today, but she has chosen to stay until next Monday. We have had many interesting talks about all sorts of things; politics, improving the lot of Peruvian women in small villages, the environment…. many things. We have had conversations in Castillano and in English…switching back and forth according to our comfort levels. I have appreciated the time to practice my spanish. Just to clarify, the spanish that is spoken in South America is considered Castillano vs. Spanish which is spoken in Spain. It differs in pronunciation and in usage of certain phrases.