I thought I knew myself. I thought I was flexible and a go with the flow girl. I am not as flexible as I thought. I am not always “go with the flow”. I am high maintenance. There are things I need. Need? Want? I can go to Africa! No problem : ) I can go to China, Ukraine, Albania. I can deal with weird food, and time changes and foreign languages. I can be in the car for hours. I miss meals, pee in a hole in the ground, get bit by bugs that attach themselves to my body. I can be hot. I can be cold. I can operate on little sleep. I can walk down the street getting stared at. I can even live without a blow dryer and make up.
But here is the hard truth. I need to stay in a nice room, take a good shower, and have a decent bathroom. I need internet. Even when I camp I have a lovely air mattress and only stay at campgrounds with good bathrooms.
When we arrived at our guest house last night, which is on the grounds of an orphanage, my first instinct was “we are NOT staying here”. The room was tiny and dark. There was a bed. End of story. The bathroom reeked of stale urine. So did the beds. The windows had no screens, but it was too hot to keep them closed. The shower dripped. Cold water. We had to sleep under mosquito nets. Which is not as romantic as is seems. We saw a huge rat. We were expected to cook our own food. I would have burned the place down if I could have figured out how to use the stove. We could not figure out how to use the toaster or the coffee pot. Our adaptors did not work there so we would have run out of juice pretty quickly. All I wanted to do was GO. Adoptive families will stay there for up to six weeks. There are student volunteers staying for 5 months. I did not want to stay one night. Jill said we should give it a night. I was pretty sure Adey was on my side, but too polite to say. We did manage to sleep. I have bruises on both of my hips from the hard “mattress”.
The other issue is work. We have to work long days with a group of professional people representing Bethany. It is hard to do with a bad night’s sleep and a horrible shower. It is also hard to do when we were expected to spend all our free time “volunteering” at the orphanage. Now I know this is some people’s dream. Go to an orphanage and hold babies. Let me tell you. It is not. It is disruptive. It can scare the children. It causes fighting among the children for affection. And honestly, it make us feel better than the children. We rush in, play with kids, hold them, rush out and we are never seen again. What does that do? Is that helpful? What does that teach children? Not stability. And it shows support of orphanages. Do we want to support orphanages? No. The answer is no.
But I digress. This was about me being a spoiled American. I really think if I came here on a mission project, if I was going to paint or build or clean, and I knew I was getting into it, I could handle it. Not easily, but I could. But my mission here is different. It was stressful today repacking, telling the director we could not stay at her guest house, driving around the city trying to find a decent place to stay. But was the most stressful was knowing that I require some luxuries. And I do not like that about myself.