It’s amazing how quickly circumstances can change through the generosity of others and chance situations. Only a couple of days ago I found myself in dire straits once again after I left my bag, including my laptop, tablet, iphone and a couple hundred dollars sitting on a rock on the Isla del Sol after balancing my camera on it to take a self-timer photo. Bad move…really bad move. I cursed myself up and down for being so careless, believe me. I sobbed over it like a baby after running back to the spot that I left it only to discover it gone.
My dreams of writing about my travels squashed by my own senselessness, but also by the decision the person who picked up my bag of things made to keep it. What a score, right? It was pretty valuable stuff. To them the value was in the electronics and the money. To me the value was in the photo’s, video’s, the ability to write and the little brown rock the Spanish man gave me on the Camino last fall.
They probably took that little brown rock out of the front pocket of my bag and tossed it away. It would have meant nothing to them. They wouldn’t have known that I was sitting in a small Spanish village at a cafe/bar resting my weary feet after walking 245 kilometers of the 800 kilometer Camino de Santiago pilgrimage when a Spanish man approached me, opened up my hand and placed the small brown rock in the centre of my palm. They wouldn’t have known that as he closed my fingers overtop of it and held my hand shut he said, “If you need anything, ask the rock.” That’s why I took the rock with me on this journey, just in case I needed anything. Many an emotional time, I held that rock in the palm of my hand and prayed. I prayed to God while I ran up the trail on the Isla del Sol that somehow it would make it back to me. I asked the rock then, wherever it was, to please find it’s way back and to bring everything else with it. I needed that rock more than anything at that moment. So the person, in their desire to keep the bag and it’s contents, had no idea what they really had of mine. In their mind they may have thought, ‘Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers.” Who came up with that saying anyways? Boo! Obviously someone selfish.
So, again I had to make it okay in my mind that it was all gone, just like I had to be ok with my boots being gone after walking 800 kilometers of the Camino last fall. I sobbed on the phone to my father while on my way to the airport in the taxi, “My boots…they’re gone. The only things that separated me from the red, Spanish soil!” It was a sad, sad moment. At that time, my deal with God was that whoever got my boots had to be inspired to walk the Camino. This time, I pray the person who has my bag of electronics is somehow inspired to do good with them.
After arriving in Viacha, a small town 40 minutes outside of La Paz in Bolivia, my focus turned to volunteering with an organization called CHOICE, run by Willy and Maxima. It’s been a wonderful experience so far. Willy and Maxima have been so kind and have been a big help after all that’s happened. My accomodation is free and I have been lucky enough to have been fed since I arrived here two days ago. Willy even offered to lend me money if I needed it.
Yesterday, I spent the day ironing, folding and bundling scarves knitted by local women and today, I visited one of the communites where the women work to make them. A group of them sat in a circle together under the warm sunshine in a run-down school yard knitting and smiling away. I learned much about their efforts to earn money for their community and for their children’s education. I will be writing a featured post on all of this after I have had a chance to visit all of the surrounding communities.
Further to my better luck, Willy has offered to sell me his tablet. That means I will again be able to upload images to the blog and use WIFI to communicate when I need to. I’ll miss the photos and the videos I took which are still on my tablet…or not. There was a good video of a turantula! Ha ha!! My friend, Laura, would have hated it!
Luck is again coming my way and I am beginning to relax again. Through this whole ordeal, I have been blessed with people who have shown kindness and generosity. People like Andres, Duane, Willy and Maxima as well as all of the people who showed compassion and tried to help as I sobbed away on the trail at Isla del Sol and I can’t forget about my Facebook friends. The support has been phenomenal and it keeps me strong. It’s these people who have shown me what is really valuable in this world and I am so grateful for that.