The Decay of Dignity

          “Life is not a matter of place, things or comfort; rather, it concerns the basic human rights of family, country, justice and human dignity.~Imelda Marcos

 I’ve been musing about the decay of human dignity in the United States. I can’t open a website or newspaper without reading about the lack of respect given to President Obama, the life and death of Eric Garner, and other enraged incidents that demonstrate the decay of human dignity in the United States.

However, the decline of human dignity is not isolated to the United States. It’s like a cancer spreading worldwide, eating away at the crumbling foundation of respect for our human race.

When I opened my Facebook page on Black Friday, I saw this post from Lucha Libro Bookstore in Granada, Nicaragua.

homeless boy copy

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Let the Good Times Roll?

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
― Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank


let the good times rollRecently, I’ve been bombarded on my Facebook news feed with videos of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. The ALS marketing strategy is brilliant and has raised over $30 million dollars for ALS research and created an awareness of ALS throughout the world. Letting the good times roll by donating to a reputable charity AND having fun while doing it is exhilarating.
Keep rolling. More good times ahead.

Sometimes Paradise is Hell: An Oxymoron Story

This day is really bugging me!

“Well, this is a fine mess,” I shouted while sweeping an accurate estimate of a bazillion dead insects out of my house this morning. There was a hatch last night, sprinkling gargantuan lilliputian mounds like a quiet hurricane, blanketing my priceless junk with a fine dusting of carcasses.

“Good grief,” I muttered,” I have too much to do today.” It was 6 am and almost safe enough to run my washing machine. So, after a big sip of coffee, I unplugged all the electrical appliances from their outlets, and took a calculated risk that there would be enough amperage to run the washing machine. All loaded and ready to go….the electricity cut off exactly at 7 am. Clearly confused, I kept pressing the “on” button…nada. My initial conclusion was that I had done something wrong and blown a fuse.

“Hay luz a su casa?” I yelled over the fence to my neighbors. “No hay luz,” my abundantly poor neighbors replied. “Hmmm…not a good sign,” I thought to myself. The unanticipated electrical outage would probably last all day. So, I unloaded the clothes and prepared to wash them by hand in the kitchen sink.

An hour later, hanging in the clean air, my white socks looked better than new. Suddenly, the cheap clothesline snapped and all my freshly washed clothes took a crash landing in the dirt. “Holy hell,” I cursed with my best profanity. “This is not domestically blissful day.”

Another hour passed, although this is not an exact estimate because the battery died on my watch. Finally again, my clean clothes were swaying  on a rope strong enough to hold 20 acrophobic rock climbers. This day was quickly going nowhere.

Wearing long shorts and a long-sleeved t-shirt, with a garlic bulb in each pocket, and tons of Deet, I was prepared to have some serious fun with my rake. The garlic bulb was an unspoken suggestion from my neighbor to be used as a weapon of peace for the insects that have unmercifully attacked the trunk of my body. It was a just war in retaliation for the hundreds of bites that were now turning an awfully pretty purple, black, blue, and brown on the front of my back. Marina was among the first to take a peek at my back. In an almost surprised voice she gasped, “Fea…fea.” (Ugly..ugly)

I consider myself a brave wimp. Living on a tropical island, in the middle of a huge lake, in the middle of Nicaragua I was prepared for an active retirement, but my life has become one big oxymoron after another. Almost done with the raking, I spotted the lake water creeping to our gate. In 30 minutes, it had risen over 3 ft. Soon our beach would be gone. “Damn,” I muttered all alone. “No,” I thought, “dam.” I apathetically urged Ron to help me build a temporary dam that would hold back the lake…at least for the day. In the bright rain, we piled bricks near the gate wishing for a miracle.

As bad luck would have it, my clothes were still hanging on the fortified clothes line. No one said there was a hundred percent chance of rain. I was wishing for a quick reboot to this perfectly horrible day.

Covered in dirt, I looked like a recycling dump. I came to a rolling stop in the bathroom when I was headed for the shower. The toilet had overflowed…again. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the rustic elegance of our place, but, it was starting to resemble a sanitary landfill.

Half naked, I jumped in the shower. There was new trouble in paradise. “Hay agua?” I shouted to our neighbors. “No hay agua,” they shouted back. No water…only the sound of silence.

With authoritarian anarchy, I ran to the lake, which was now a foot from our gate, and jumped in the water. I swam with a somewhat balanced insanity trying to wash the day away.

The electric and water finally came back on. The workers were cutting the limbs away from the electric lines today. In their fuzzy Latin logic, it is easier to turn off the electricity to the entire community. I feel like a big baby, but sometimes life in paradise is hell. Today was a day of controlled chaos with many lessons in crisis management. I’m dreaming of high ground tonight and holistic healing for my bites. Hopelessly optimistic, tomorrow will be a better day. 🙂