Due to out-of-control slash and burn fires, the city of Santa Cruz currently ranks among the world's most-polluted cities. To make matters worse, everyone in the city is continuing to burn their garbage despite the lack of moisture and overall nasty air.
This morning in my classroom, I taught about plant reproduction to my class while a couple boys snickered behind their science books every time I said "male part" or "female part". I felt like I was in Mr. Gunderson's classroom in Fall Creek, WI, learning the same thing. Later, I stepped out of my classroom and nearly started choking. The air was strong with the scent of a swimming pool gone way, way wrong. I can only imagine what chemicals people were burning to create this odor. I wish I could put into words the disparity between the world inside my classroom and the one outside of it. Kids with iPhones versus farmers who grew up believing that the rainforest was created to be burned.
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If my morning culture shock wasn't sufficient, there was more. After lunch I led my students in praising God that we had air conditioning, and thirty mintues later the power (and a/c) went out. I was the only one who blinked an eye. School in the dark; apparently an everyday experience for Bolivians.
God has much to teach me this year about justice, privilege, and His grace both to the poor and the rich. Today was my wakeup call. I need to start learning.