If you’ve been in Scouting you recognize that slogan. Boy Scouting was probably the greatest positive influence on my life. The values learned from age 12 as a Tenderfoot and upward through Eagle were those that stayed with me longest and strongest.
Reinforcing the desire to do a good deed daily was the example of my father. It seems he was always taking the time to help someone repair a car engine, do some plumbing work for a widow, volunteering while others looked away or made an excuse.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m nobody’s hero. I do what I see needs to be done if I’m able. If I’m unable, I try to find someone who is. It’s what I do.
I was on the microbus to Chalchuapa when I was hissed from a seat to the rear and opposite side by Bessy Cerna, one of my pre-marital love interests and a good friend. She made room for me to sit next to her as I staggered rearward on the lurching derelict vehicle. On her lap was her four-year old niece, Suliebeth. Suli and I are good friends from the days when I spent time at her house trying to court her aunt. But she was strangely quiet. Bessy told me she had a fever. I asked where they were going and Bessy said she had to renew her DUI. I told her there had been a long line in the morning and asked why she was taking the very hot child. Oh, Bessy is studying nursing. She had to fulfill the requirement of the law, I knew and she was taking care of Suli. It’s different here.
I asked if she’d given Suli any aspirin. She said they didn’t have any at home. I know how poor she is with four kids and having to live with her brother, his wife and their three kids in a very tiny house and little coming in. I said nothing more. We just chatted for the short ride to Chalchuapa. I got off first and walked up the street, the microbus slowly following. I waited for it to catch up and told Bessy to give her daughter Yuli a hug for me. She knows how close we are.
My first stop in Chalchuapa was at the “pharmacy” to buy ten 81 mg. aspirins. Then I bought two licuadas, a fruit drink made in a blender and poured over ice in a plastic bag with a straw. I walked to the DUI office and, thank God, the line was short. I gave Bessy the aspirin and one of the licuadas. The other one slipped out of my hand to the sidewalk. Oh, well! Suli wouldn’t take the aspirin. Bessy thanked me and I headed back up the street.
I had passed a young woman in a wheel chair with her mother next to her holding her hand out. I approached and put what change I had minus the quarter I’d need to get home in a cup on the sidewalk. I considered that my good deed for the day. Not a big deal. I don’t know those people. The young woman was obviously disabled.
But Suli is in my heart. The kids I’ve interacted with as a teacher or volunteer at our church’s school and CDI project, interpreted for when sponsors or missionaries come to El Refugio, or whose families have approached me for one reason or another during my now 2 1/2 years living here have a place in my heart. I’m human. Some more than others. I don’t see them every day but when I do, I get a hug and/or a kiss on he cheek. Some want me to pick them up and hold them. I don’t ask why. I just accept their love knowing that they know I love them too.
I’ve had to cut down on some of my good deed doing since Margarita and I’ve been married. With four kids of our own and the expenses of setting up housekeeping, a big (by El Refugio standards) church wedding, and other unexpected expenses I haven’t been able to keep tabs on everything going on and helping out as I had been. Now that Margarita’s had her surgery and is home recuperating, I hope I’ll be able to get more involved in doing God’s work here. He’s blessed me mightily and I want to do for others as He has done for me.
I’ll check in on Suli tomorrow in hopes that Bessi or Suli’s mom got her to take the aspirin. Can you imagine? Four cents per aspirin and the family had none in the house. It’s more than poverty. It’s the culture. I’ll do what I can as long as I’m able. I guess that’s why God sent a teacher rather than a preacher to El Refugio.
On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. Some things you don’t forget.