Friday, April 20, 2007

Chihuahua - part dos

Why is it that on days where I don't have to wake up early for work or school or any other obligation, I end up wide awake at 6 in the morning? I could never do that when I actually needed to.

So I got a ride with my mom to her work this morning so that I could sneak off to La Plazita cafe (from an earlier post) to just chill for awhile. So as I browse friend's and band's myspace profiles, and watch John Mayer on Youtube, I might try and share some thoughts today. (Try.)

So I'm a little frustrated with my previous post on Chihuahua. I should never have put "part uno" in the title since it now forces me to write a "part dos." I already had an idea of what I wanted to write, but no idea how to tell the story.

It was Friday evening and we had finally visited the last of the relatives (for that day). So we returned to my dad's uncle's house to stay the night. I had enjoyed visiting this family earlier that day and didn't mind that we would be sleeping there. After all, they had cable and dish network. But of course, I could watch TV all day at home if I really wanted to, so when my dad's cousins offered to take me along for a late walk, I opted for that instead.

I went in with the knowledge that these two guys my age did not speak much English, though they were taking classes through a local church. I was looking forward to practicing my Spanish and over the next half hour or so I spoke little to no English. It was a great challenge.

And if it wasn't already enough of a stretch that I was practicing a language I only occasionally speak when necessary, I got myself tangled in conversations ranging from religion and churches to politics and war. They asked questions like, "Que esta haciendo los Estados Unidos en Iraq?" ("What is the United States doing in Iraq?") That question is difficult enough in English, now I had to both figure out what to say and then figure out how to say it in Spanish. It was good for me to have to really think about and then explain what I knew and how I felt.

When they found out that I was involved at my church, they asked questions like, "Que tipos de personas va a tu iglesia?" ("What kind of people go to your church?") and "Que haces con to iglesia por to comunidad?" (What do you do with your church for your community?"). Now to be honest, I had a difficult time answering those questions. What kind of people go to your church? As I started to explain the size and range of our church, it only brought more questions about culture and race. They asked bluntly and without awareness of what's taboo about the amount of black people in our church and in Albuquerque. It was partly comical, partly racist (they used some colorful language), and partly convicting. Where is the diversity in our churches? Do we really know who we (my church) are successfully reaching and are we purposeful about it?

"What do you do for your community?"

I can understand where this question came from. It wasn't meant to be a blunt, convicting question. They knew they were able to go to the church there in town and learn English and enroll in other programs. There was no meanness in their question, just curiosity - they wanted to know what we did. But yet, I could not answer it. I could not think of what we were actually doing for our community.

I still can't figure it out...

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