This week, I had a few days to myself. Tim and I had to shop for our consumables shipment (grocery items and supplies for a whole year) to send to Madagascar, so we went to Pennsylvania over the weekend to spend some time with Grandma as well. We filled the car with all the necessities that wouldn't be available or expensive in our next post, then drove back to DC to have them packed out and shipped.
As I was organizing what we shopped for and was securing the liquids, I began to realize how pathetic this whole exercise was. Calculating the money that we spent, and the crap that we got, I felt so sad that we "need" all of this to survive. A few days of quiet made me think about a lot of things, and made me reflect on the materialistic life we are living. Yeah, we may need all the crap, but for the people that we will be encountering in Madagascar who couldn't even make ends meet for $2 a day minimum wage, the thought of unpacking 1,000 lbs of necessities, plus our furniture and all the other stuff from Manila seems daunting to me. What a kill joy, for sure, but really, as I am learning more about the poverty on that side of the earth, I don't even know how I will explain to my children about how screwed up the world is. What do I say if Kevin asks me why some people are poor? How do I talk to them about the inequalities of this life without making them feel conflicted about the comforts they are experiencing from hard-earned money? How do I teach them to be grateful for what they have, and think of the needs of others before themselves? How do I teach them compassion and empathy when they will be living in a big sized house, with clean drinking water and 3 bathrooms, while a few feet from us are shanty towns? How do you reconcile that? I come from a developing country, but there are places in the Philippines where you forget that you are even in the third world, but from what we've read, Madagascar's poverty is way more disturbing.
For now, all I can do is be thankful - thankful to be able to see and live in that part of the world, be open and enjoy the beautiful experiences and people we will meet, live life simply, and carry with me the spirit of generosity - wherever it is needed. End of rant.
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The kids came back on Wednesday, and we were able to catch Disney on Ice on Thursday. They had a lot of fun!
We tried to squeeze in some school time, and made sure we involved their grandparents.
We continued our research about the unique animals and plants in Madagascar, and diverted somehow to look at videos of the creepiest animals in the world. I asked them to draw what animal they wanted to create if they had the power to do so and they came up with these.
We experimented density and how the kind of water affects solids. In Math, we learned about measuring in centimeters. In Music (while we had the glasses out), we learned about high and low sounds.
As the date of our departure draws near, I feel a little lazy to continue on doing these things for the kids. On one hand, I know the kids will almost immediately start school as soon as we get there, so these activities might not be necessary, but on the other hand, structure is good for me and for them. This week, we are packing out some of our other essentials again, so we will be living off our suitcases once again for 2 weeks. We've done this so many times, but it just doesn't get easier, but hey, we can do this!