It went something like this. All week, Geno–our videographer–has been trying to get a quick interview of me and some of our other team members. All week, it just hasn’t worked. I had told him that first thing in the morning would be best. I’m not good on camera, so at the very least, I’d like to do it when I’m clean, fresh, and looking a little more like a Remember board member and a little less like a refugee.

So this morning, before we did anything else, we tried to set up for an interview.  But, alas, our chosen location of the open air breakfast rendezvous proved too noisy because of the busy street right in front. Oh well, there would be time later and if I looked like a drowned rat, it would be so much more authentic.

When we arrived at Hope, I was given the important task of “a quick run into town” to get some fresh pineapples for everyone–including some local talent who were helping finish the trash task we had started yesterday.

I recruited Gino to go with me to keep it safe. Then I found the bus driver. Then I hunted for a translator to tell the bus driver where to go. The translator suggested we take the truck rather than the bus since the truck driver knew the local area better.  Probably a great idea since it can be difficult to maneuver the tight corners and narrow streets lined with bamboo huts selling various trinkets.  Our bus driver has proved it can be done, but no need to push it. Literally.

So I hunted down Curtis who said the truck was needed to haul trash so I better stick with the bus. But…I needed to be sure to take a translator with me.  The only person I found who could speak English couldn’t go but he could call someone else who could go. We would just have to wait for him to come from Faith.

While we were waiting, Geno thought we should give the interview another try.  With the generator running, it was too loud near the buildings, so we took a plastic chair and headed toward the front of the property. But just as we got there, and got set up, someone started running a weed eater. So…we dragged the chair, myself, Gino’s camera equipment, and my blue bag of everything important to me–through the orchard to find a quiet place for an interview.

It had rained pretty heavily the night before so the fire ants weren’t out in force, but I still rather gingerly picked my way through the muddy grass in my flip flops while dodging leaves and Jack fruit.   We reached a quiet spot and arranged the chair, the camera, and the microphone. Geno opened his mouth to ask the first question and a drop of rain hit.

In seconds, it was a steady pelt. We ran for the shelter of the trees, but it was basically like trying to use a dozen spatulas as an umbrella. Just not a great plan. I hunted around in my trusty blue bag for plastic to cover the camera with. And we tried to wait it out  –more just so we could feel like we accomplished something.  But after a while, not only was I getting passed the drowned rat stage, but Geno’s equipment was going to get ruined. Foiled again. 

Pastor Khar, the leader at Faith needed to speak with Curtis and I, so the newly arrived shopping translator, the bus driver, and my escort disbursed so I could have the fun of finding them again in a little while. So much for the quick run into town.

It was nearly noon by the time we finished and I re-recruited the bus driver, the translator, Geno, and Mary Lou for our quick run into town. Unfortunately, the bus was stuck.  In an ordeal that nearly took out the generator, one wall, and the rest of Rick Jackson’s non-gray hair (and involved four men pushing) , we got the bus turned around and we were on our way.  I had some other shopping to do, but this was just the quick run…we would do the real shopping later.

We have two busses–the Yummy Gummy and Light & Shine. We were in Light & Shine, but apparently, Yummy Gummy was feeling left out, because the next thing we knew, it was me, the escort, the translator, Mary Lou, the bus driver, the back up bus driver, and the back up bus and its two man crew threading our way through the narrow streets to get pineapple.      Seizing the moment, I did bend the rules a bit to buy the trash cans, brooms, and a few chairs. The translator did come in quite handy and just to make sure everyone had something to do, they loaded the chairs in the Yummy Gummy.

We did manage to get back to Hope with enough daylight left to make another stab at the interview. Because of sound issues, we had to head back to the orchard. The sound issues followed us when our Burmese help  turned on a radio to entertain the trash pickers. As an aside–We’ve been treated to our share of Burmese music during our daily rides in Light & Shine.  We all have at least one of the three songs on the rotation memorized.

So here we were–me in the chair; Geno with the camera; and the soft background music wafting through the damp air.

Why do you do this? He asked me.

Fair question. I knew I must be quite a sight. Wet, dirty, and a bit frazzled–feeling like my day wasn’t amounting to much.

Why do I do this?

I didn’t say it well. Maybe I can’t put it into words that do it anything like justice. But I do it for Zaw U. I do it for Kyi Yom. I do it for Naw Li.  I do it for Friday.  I do it for Hope. I do it for Jesus.

And I do it for me. Because it’s good for me to pick up trash. To go pineapple shopping. To sweep floors. To move beds. And to pick up beads.  Some days it doesn’t look like much. But maybe that’s the perfect thing to help me understand these people so I can love them a little bit more.
     P.S – the rats and mice have figured out this rat thing. The score is now 8 – 8.

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