Friday, 18 May 2012

Justice is to deepen love and freedom: Part 1 (VC)

 I was quite shocked that my last entry received 64 views in a single day, but then I figured many of them  are probably junk sites, and not actual people reading. Still, I appreciate those of you who do!!
 I'm probably breaking the rules of blogging by making these entries as long as I do. So I'm going to mix things up a little here and write this blog in 2 parts. The first one,  shorter, will be an account recounting the events of the past week, and the 2nd one recounting how the events have impacted me.
   In the last entry, I talked about our very first night in Caracas, and hanging out with the guys. The next day, our guests insisted was  day of rest for us. I was looking forward to sleeping in a little, but that was not going to happen here. The residence is adjacent to the Jesuit school, which is hub of sports related activities. There's a whole section of the campus dedicated just to sports, with 2 or 3 baseball diamonds, a few soccer fields,tennis courts and many other  places for sports. It turns out, they're usually all full at the same time, so you can imagine the noise that emerges from this place!  I was rudely awoken  the next day by loud cheerings, wondering why this country was crazy enough to have a championship game going on at 8 am on a Saturday! Turns out it was just the kids playing, but there were so many of them going on at the same time that it was made that much louder! We eventually got to see the various sports fields, as one of our hosts (John)  took us to the campus, and we took in one of the baseball games for a short while. We also stopped at the Jesuit infirmiry attached to the school, which was a lovely experience on its own. Finally, we went to the shopping mall that bears the name of our founder " The Ignatius center' which the guys claim has nothing to do with them. It was a nice part of town to be in though. Reminded me of the Annex back in Toronto. Very pleasant, but very distant from the poverty that is the principal reality of this country.
  After an evening in Los Teques (an hour or more south of Caracas) where  we got to meet many of the  Provincials from Latin America that met together over the weekend, we returned to the University complex in preparation for our next day, when we would be in various apostolates that our Philosopher brothers are involved with in the city. My experience was with one of the guys here, named  Johnny, in a poor neighborhood called Carapita. I was lucky enough to hang out with the people afterwards, and to really experience the reality of the people in a real way. It's also the place where I realized how little I knew the language, and how little I could follow conversations which made things challenging.
   After this experience,  we packed up, and headed for the philosophy house, our real residence during our stay in Venezuela.  In a way, I could say that the only downside to our stay here so far, is that we are literally  in lock down mode unless somebody takes us somewhere. They don't really encourage us going out for walks in our neighborhood, and even if they did, we have enough to do, that there isn't always time for that. So we end up being 'stuck' in the house a lot, but it's not too depressing because of the amount of work and learning and the living experience, to be so close to our Venezuelan brothers. Thankfully, we do have a wonderful host in the person of Jozhman, who although a little strange in his methodology of teaching, is the best host you could hope for, and serves as our guardian angel,  body guard, and bridge to the Venezuelan culture. so far this week, we've had a bit more openness in our schedule to go out, so he's taken us to visit two of the apostolates of the Society in Venezuela: the Venezuelan office of Jesuit Refugee Service, and the office of Faith and Joy. Both exepriences were rather powerful and I shall describe the impact they've had on me more extensively, in part 2.

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