A Lesson in Real Humility

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”
― J.M. Barrie


I was raised in the belief that one should always be humble, which I interpreted as being meek, never accepting a compliment, and certainly never acknowledging a gift or a talent one might have. But, this week, I learned that I have completely misunderstood this virtue.
Instead of an eyes cast down, submissive, weak, breast-beating virtue; I discovered within me an ability to take an honest appraisal of my abilities, and accept responsibility for the good and not-so-good things that I have done.

After the horrifying mud and rock slides that consumed the indigenous community of Los Ramos, I took a hard look at what I could do to help this community. What was I good at doing? What was I ridiculously silly at attempting to do?

I’m too old to be digging boulders out of their road. My Spanish isn’t good enough to go door to door and collect money for the community. I can’t drive a straight nail. Truth be told, I hate driving at all. I don’t have a green thumb. I’m embarrassingly clumsy.

Yet, all false modesty aside, I am a great organizer. I can write well, and my computer skills are excellent. I have a large network of family, friends, and bloggers all over the world. It dawned on me that I could confidently use these skills to help Los Ramos rebuild.

Today was our grand shopping spree. With the help of my friend, Rich, who drove his truck, Ever, the Los Ramos tourism director, and generous donations from YOU, we were very successful in purchasing a truckload of supplies for Los Ramos.

Join us for the wild ride!

Ever canvassed 125 families in Los Ramos to find their greatest needs. At the first little pulperia, Ever honed his bargaining skills to a fine art, and we bought two cases of matches, and an assortment of plastic bags so we could dispense the food and other items to each family.

IMG_4875“Ever, remember to ask them for a discount,” I reminded him.

IMG_4877We entered every little pulperia, grocery store, and hardware store. Ever had to compare prices…that’s what every Nicaraguan does.

IMG_4876We bought 200 candles in this store. But, I was awed by Ever’s bargaining skills and forgot to take a picture inside.

IMG_4878“Flashlights are next on the list,” said Ever. “Smile for the camera,” I said as we loaded batteries into each flashlight to make sure they worked. If you buy anything battery operated or electrical in Nicaragua, they always plug it in to make sure it works. Always!

IMG_4879Ever found the best deal in town for 220 pounds of sugar and six 5 gallon buckets of cooking oil. “Seriously, Ever, you are going to have to go on a sugar less diet because 500 pounds of sugar is way too much sugar,” I laughed. He agreed and we cut the amount of sugar in half. Nicaraguans love their sugar!

IMG_4880Those buckets of cooking oil are heavy! Once when I was on the tiny launcha, they loaded hundreds of buckets of cooking oil into the boat, and it sunk the propeller.

IMG_4885After a lunch of the Combo ( cheese burgers, fries, and a drink…which really turned out to be chicken patties, because they didn’t have any hamburger) we were on our way to the new improved mini-super where we bought 500 pounds of rice, 125 bags of salt ( they really need to cut back on their salt consumption, too. But, Ever said they are only little bags), 125 bags of powdered milk, more candles, and baby diapers. We got the best discount at the mini-super.

IMG_4888 After a few more stops for miscellaneous things, we were on our way. “Debbie,” said Rich. “Look at the tires.” “They are almost flat because of the weight.” I don’t think I can take you home because your road is washed out and the truck is too heavy now.”
“No problem, Rich.”
“Just drop me off at the airport and I’ll walk home.”

IMG_4889We arranged to have everything dropped off at a little rancho at the top of the hill in Los Ramos. It is impossible to get any vehicle into Los Ramos because of the landslides. Ron and I were to meet Ever at the rancho on Saturday morning to help him distribute the food and other items to each family.

Exhausted after a long hot day, when I arrived home, Ever called. “Debbie,” he said excitedly. “All the families walked up the hill and helped us carry the truckload of things back to their houses.” “We worked together and sorted all of the food and distributed it to the families.”

I was thrilled. They had planned on hiring a guard to watch the things overnight, but they really needed these items immediately. “Tomorrow we are having a special mass at the church to give thanks for the help that we have received,” he said. “You must come.”

Tomorrow, you will probably find us stepping over boulders, carrying our church shoes a mile down the muddy, boulder strewn hill because we have to give thanks, too.

Life is a long lesson in humility…it’s a recognition of our strengths and our weaknesses…a gentle nudge in the direction of not only caring for others, but caring for ourselves…acknowledging our gifts…and therefore accepting our responsibilities, instead of retreating from them.

And, the best news of all…thanks to Ever’s gift of bargaining we still have $500 left to spend. Maybe piglets and chicks will be the next truckload. Now, that will be a real adventure.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your loving kindness for donating, for spreading the word…and most of all for being YOU!


18 thoughts on “A Lesson in Real Humility

  1. This is great! Good job, Debbie. Keep an eye out for anything special that might be needed that I can bring in December (that I can fit in suitcase.)

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