There are a few pros and cons to living in a remote jungle village. Yes, I know there are pros and cons in any given circumstance in life, and usually it’s more an issue of our perspective of a situation that determines its “pro” or “con” status more than the actual thing itself. Since our living situation is somewhat out of the ordinary compared to what we would normally experience in the West, however, certain aspects of our life out here in Iski-land invariably seem more conspicuous to us than others. Here is a small sampling of a few of the different situations that stand out the most to us, along with a few thoughts on each:
Our boys have very few Western friends to play with.
CON: They are probably going to be viewed as kind of weird when they eventually go off to college.
PRO: The friends they DO have are great kids, and with the cumulative number of their gang being only nine, peer pressure is almost negligible (almost).
Our boys have many Iski kids around to play with.
PRO: Our boys are getting a broader worldview learning to relate with kids who are very different from themselves in how they look, talk, and interact.
CON: After playing with a bunch of kids in varying degrees of nakedness, with runny noses, and infectious skin soars, they just about give their mom a nervous breakdown each bath-time as she tries to scrub away the germs from their dirty little bodies.
Holidays are borderline non-existent.
CON: We have to work extra hard as a family to make a holiday special. If we don’t do something ourselves, it doesn’t happen.
PRO: Our kids are never disappointed, because they have no idea how a holiday is “supposed to be.”
[Example: This last Halloween, we wrapped t-shirts around the boys’ heads so they looked like ninjas and had them “trick-or-treat” down our hallway, with Rochelle and I taking turns pretending to be different people at each door, passing out candy. When they had finished knocking on our bedroom and bathroom doors and were sitting on the couch examining their loot, Manny said happily, “Wow, this is just like what kids do in New York!”]
We are hopelessly cut off from what is going on in the rest of the world.
CON: I hardly had a clue what was going on back home during this last presidential election.
PRO: I hardly had a clue what was going on back home during this last presidential election.
Our clothes are all dirty and frumpy.*
CON: Rochelle finds it hard to feel pretty wearing the same drab outfit every other day.**
PRO: We never have to think about what we are going to wear, because all of our clothing is equally grungy and boring.
Almost all of our meals are made using non-perishable (AKA: not fresh) foods.
PRO: Many of our meals are made from scratch and taste like a little bit of love was baked into every bite.
CON: Many MORE of our meals consist of about three ingredients and taste a lot like tuna fish on a cracker.
We view the world very differently from the rest of the people in our village.
CON: It can be hard to relate to people whose views on germs, sickness, death, material goods, family relations…etc. are so drastically different from what we believe to be true.
PRO: God’s Word and the truth of the Gospel are highlighted for us so much more as we engage daily with a group of people who have yet to encounter the freeing power of the cross.
I know that these pros and cons aren’t overly remarkable, but they are a regular reality for our family, and sometimes we find them to be especially concerning (or pleasantly refreshing). But, hey, that’s life in the bush!
* We do this intentionally in an attempt to not flaunt our relative wealth among our Iski neighbors.
** This, of course, is not true. It’s like I always tell her, “You’re beautiful, honey. You’re a beautiful woman who wears ugly clothes every day.”