Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Weight of the World


Do you ever have those days? When it seems the world is out to get you, nothing is normal, loved ones are far away, and nothing seems to go right? When you ask yourself why do I bother, what difference can it make, and even *gasp* ponder what it would be like to easily just book a flight home?

Today, well the last few days, have felt like that for us.  I have wayyyy too many things on my to-do list, everyone has deadlines and I can’t possibly meet them all. It really stresses me out.

Paul got a ticket from a cop last night. He was stopped at a red light. The policeman walked over to his window and started to argue with Paul and issue him a ticket for running a red light. Huh? He was stopped at the red light while this whole conversation went on. Then of course the cop insinuated that he could just pay him and take care of the ticket easily and it would go away. Paul of course refuses. So the cop writes him the ticket, takes his ID and storms off. Today Paul goes to the Police Station to argue the ticket with the boss and get back his ID papers. To lodge a complaint. They tell Paul he can’t lodge a complaint since he didn’t give the cop any money. But had Paul paid the cop off he would have been part of the corruption and have no paper trail… so how would he prove that? So he pays the $20 for having properly stopped at a red light. Wow, how dare he stop!

Then the Air Maroc saga. We booked tickets to go on vacation with my parents in December. Air Maroc cancelled one of our flights, and put us on the next available flight some 20 hours later. Of course when you have to cancel car reservations or hotel reservations they could care less its the airlines fault and they do not refund you. The airline also does not offer a refund. SO after much frustration we made a new plan and changed a few things around which involved a ridiculously long day of planes, trains, cars, ferries and local buses (i kid you not!) to get where we needed to go on time. Sure sounds like an adventure, but exhausted me thinking about it. Low and behold this weekend Air Maroc re-adds a new flight the exact day and time we originally were supposed to fly! (yes- that one we paid for, wanted and were never refunded). Well they put up a huge fuss to put us back on that flight. My Dad calls Air Maroc offices in Canada to no avail as well. After much hassle we got my parents added back to the original flight at no charge. Phew. After much more hassle, we still made no headway to adding our family of 4 back to that flight. They INSIST we have to repurchase that segment. Huh? We already paid for it! So we are left with the choice of an exhausting overland trip or rebuying a flight we already bought. I go in this morning when the lady told me too, and they refused to let me in. They are only open for a few hours on the weekend. It was 25 minutes to closing and she had a few other people in line. All I had to do was hand her the cash since the booking was already made. And they told me I MUST pay it today or the whole reservation was cancelled. And the lady working…oh man was she rude. Like insulting in your face, power trip kind of rude. I am slow to anger, but man was I MAD at her. I had tears rolling down my cheek at her outright rudeness and complete lack of any form of respect or customer service. So now I am back at square one. Gosh I need a vacation… I really just couldn’t imagine this lack of disrespect and rudeness to other people.

We have been meeting with lots of people from Aid organizations lately. The stories of struggle and corruption are depressing from their wide vast of experience. They seem to just accept so much will be wasted, lost to corruption and failed as part of the “cost of doing business”. Our team just completed our final survey after our grain aid program drew to an end. One honest comment caught me off guard- we had run too tight a ship. There had not been room for them to screw the system and steal grain, or hand out free food to other people not on the list, nor pay someone off to weedle their way into the program etc. WHAT! To me this seems like a good thing, but they saw it is a negative. Totally blows my mind. Paul is saying Africa will never change. Their mentality, work ethic and attitude is so messed up it is hard to see how change can happen. I am tired of them seeing us sometimes as just a bank or someone they can demand things from.

That’s when I remind myself that we don’t need to change Africa. Only God can do that. Not my job. I am not going to change Niger. I am not even going to change Niamey city. Maybe it is even too grandiose to assume I have a shot at changing the lives of the 60 girls in our Girls at Risk program? I am here to do my part, to love the people I come alongside, and the rest is so huge, so depressing, so daunting and unfathomably hard, that I just can’t focus on that. If I do…well it ends up hurting like my heart today.

So anyhow, sorry if this is a rant. But it is also real life for us. Events like this happen all the time. Sometime I do think about being at home where we have people who love us and support us around. Where we have some modicum of comfort with a culture we understand. Where we don’t have to be on edge and can truly relax. Maybe I might even discover what a real weekend break from work is! I guess a rant is one way to see into our lives and the struggles we face. We appreciate so much your care, notes, prayers and encouragement.

The weight on this truck is like the weight of our task. Hard on our little wheels and frame to keep on moving sometimes!



Steve said...

Thanks for your honesty Chantelle. We feel your pain! Central Africa has its' challenges. Bon courage! We're just coming out of a bit of a "slump" ourselves (I'm hoping). Take care, Steve and Alace

Judy said...

Thanks Chantelle! I really appreciate you honesty! You are standing in the gap for these people, and we must stand in the gap for you, and all the others like you! Not sure what else to say!


Carrien said...

having a similar month right here in North America, though minus the corrupt gov't and inept airline.

I love you girl. In the end you are exactly right. It's about how well we love God and love others. I have to keep reminding myself of that.


Alicia said...

Sharing with honesty is heart wrenching sometimes. Thank you and please know that voices will rise in prayer for yours, so that those weights will be lighter and easier to bear.

Gwen said...

Reading your blog made me feel for you and all the injustices you have been facing. Know that this day you are being covered in prayer.

And a verse of encouragment was put on my heart for you Isaiah 61:3;7-8 which says, "To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion--to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit--that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs.

For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong with violence or a burnt offering. And I will faithfully give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with them.


Ron said...

Ranting has its purpose too. So glad you are there as light in a very dark place. You are Immanuel to the people of Niamey.

Katherine said...

I'm sorry Chantelle! That uber sucks!! Keep on keeping on! We all love you!

Anonymous said...

That's the only way we can effectively stand with you and for you Chantelle, when you share your heart the way you do. I felt your frustration and perhaps (because it's me) a twinge of anger. I see us all clasping hands all over the world and praying for Niamey and Africa as a country, for her people and their needs, and more specifically for their souls. Hold on dear one, you do not stand alone. I pray His peace for you this day. much love heather

Anonymous said...

How thankful I am that God has placed you in such a needy place. I guess this is the part that makes yu bruised and wornout as you slide into home plate. Thanks for helping me understand more of your situation. The following verses came to mind as I read of your plight. May God keep you faithful and give you the strength you need.
1 Cor. 4:12 "And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day."
One day we will all see this as only "a light affliction" compared to the glory that awaits you. May you feel the loving arms of our Savior wrapped around you. Because He cares, Aunt Carol

Rachel said...

God taught me some of these same lessons after being in Mozambique a few years. I tried to bring answers to problems I saw and living conditions with limited success. Then God spoke to me that He is the one who will change their hearts. Change has to start on the inside. I can do my part of loving, bringing truth, sharing my life, praying, but it is ultimately their choice to surrender to God that makes the difference. Thanks for sharing and be encouraged to know that there are rewards for all you do, even if you do not see them now.

Freya said...

It's a tough life, and you've chosen something so difficult. But you ARE making a difference.

I think it's just part of life, I think everyone feels this way, wherever they are. Hang in there.

Chen family said...

Oh Chantelle...thank you so much for sharing and like others have said, for your honesty. Que le Seigneur te bénisse, qu'Il te donne la puissance et la paix de continuer. We pray that you will feel his presence daily...