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A Return May 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aimee Breuker @ 7:43 am

Over nine months ago I left a part of me in a small little city outside of ManaguaNicaragua.  I am happy to report that Friday, May 3, I will be reclaiming that piece of my heart, if only for a few days.  I will be staying with my family, and hanging out with my kids, and visiting team members who are lucky enough to still be living in Nica. 

 

 

 

I have been imagining what it will be like to walk out of the airport and into the arms of my Nica family.  I have also been imagining what it will be like to hold my kids in my arms again. I imagine my heart will finally feel a sense of peace, just as it did when I walked into the arms of my Michigan family nine months ago.  If only we could all live together, if only my happiness was not left in two different countries and three different states (Alaska, Michigan, and Texas), spread out among too many different people.  I choose to love people in this world, I choose to because I believe that love matters, but that love never comes with out a cost.  I guess that is one of the reasons I have “Love Fearlessly” tattooed on my foot.  If ever I forget that love is worth everything, all I have to do is look down. 

 

 

 

So I am going to Nicaragua and for 8 days I am going to soak up all the love, joy, and peace that I can, and hopefully it will be enough to last for another year.  I truly can not wait to see everybody, and I truly could not be more grateful for the opportunity to go.  I would appreciate your prayers for me during this trip.  More specifically I ask for prayers for safe travels, the ability to leave my work at home, and for good HEALTH!!!

 

 

 

As for a quick update on my life since Nica:  As many of you know, the first few months I was home, I was dealing with a lot of medical issues.  Thankfully most of those issues have been resolved and for that I am very thankful!  Most of that thanks goes out to Dr. Carol and Mike Deweerd who do their job with an amazing amount of patience, grace and love. 

 

 

 

I also took a job doing refugee foster care for teenagers.  I have a strong desire to say that this will be the hardest job I ever have, however, when I have said that in the past, God always seems to take that on as a challenge.  This time I will not say it.  However, if I do have a job harder then this at some point in my life, you might as well just commit me to an institution.

 

 

 

I have been learning so much about inner strength this year.  Yes the job is hard, but God is stronger.  For now, I am grateful for amazing co-workers and friends and family who take me as I am:  a little broken, a little bruised, and as always, ready to conquer the next challenge, the next dream, and the next grand adventure. 

  

 

I will keep you all updated on my short time in Nica!  Thank you for all of your encouragement and support!  As always, I appreciate all of you!

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The Dream That Was Caught September 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aimee Breuker @ 3:11 pm

It has been awhile since I last wrote.  It’s true, I finished that journey.  I caught my dream and I flew with it as long as I could, and the memories of that year will carry me through to other dreams.  I did not blog towards the end because that was my time.  The last month and a half there was so significant to me that when I tried to write it down in words, my words could not hold the beauty of my experiences.

 

My heart hurts for what I had to leave behind, my children, my family, the volcanoes, and the Nicaraguan people, my team, and the feeling that I was doing something so different from most.  At the same time my heart is happy for all that I fell back into, family, friends, and a life that is easier to maneuver through.  So here I am two months out, and I am still trying to figure out what this all means.

 

I have spent this time attempting to process my journey, and what I have come to understand, is this cannot be processed.  I cannot package the last year of my life into a neat and tidy package easily delivered to the public on demand.  The memories are messy, illogical, filled with contrasts and so precious to me.

 

What scares me is how easy it can be for me to go back to my life the way it was.  It is comfortable. Poverty is not staring me in the face every where I look anymore so it is easy for me to earn my money and spend it how I choose.  Every day I have to wake up and remind myself of who I promised myself to become.  The process has not been easy, and I am sure at times I have driven my mom and sister a little batty with my latest suggestions of trying to live a simpler lifestyle.  It is so important to me to not over use, over spend, over have, and to give far more then I receive, and oh how easy that is for me to write, and so much harder to put into practice.

Often times when people come back from short missions trips they say that the people in the third worlds have so little, but they are so happy.  I both agree and disagree.  Money and material processions do not provide us with real true happiness.  True happiness comes from a special place within us, and it comes from the healthy connections we make whether that be family or friends.  That being said, I would argue that if you could not feed your family or get them the medication that they need, you would not be happy.  When we do missions trips and we walk into a house where they are all happy, I would beg you not to mistake hospitality for happiness.  Taking that one step further, I would beg you not to push poverty out of your mind when it creeps back into it.  Be good stewards of this earth.  Use less, buy less, give more.

 

There are a few thanks that need to be said because I certainly did not do this year alone.

 

The first and most important is my thanks to God.  Through my year I often heard the phrase “you cannot go where God is not,” and that phrase carried me though some of the hardest days and reminded me who to thank on the best of days.

 

My family, how could I have done this year without any of you?  I love you all so much.  How blessed I am to have you all in my life.

 

2nd CRC, you are all so wonderful.  The prayers, cards, love, you showed me.  The money for my kids, how can I thank you enough?  Thank you for being such a blessing to my life.

 

Mennonite Central Committee – What you all do is amazing and I am so blessed to have been able to spend a year working and learning from some of the most awesome people I know.  Your Christ centered development work brings me so much joy…and your cookbooks are awesome!

This year made me grow, and sometimes it made me grow faster then I wanted to.  I feel like I have emotional stretch marks to prove it and I am not fully comfortable with this new self.  I look around and I am confused with what I see and feel.  There is a part of me that hopes that the stretch marks and confusion never leaves, as it is a good reminder of where I have been and where I am going.  I go, thankful to know that I cannot go where God is not and I cannot wait to see what will happen next:)

 

Midnight Rambelings Part 2 June 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aimee Breuker @ 4:29 pm

Do you ever think of how your life would be if you were born to a poor family living in a third world country?  I think about that a lot here because the reality is all around me.  Here is what my life might look like:  As a little girl I would run around in dirty shorts and tank top, both with holes in them.  I own a pair of sandals, but probably wouldn’t be wearing them.  I probably have a nice outfit that the neighbor lady gave us, but that would only be for trips to the doctor or church.  I would spend my days with my mom as she sells water or tortillas on the street, and go home to my suffocating house that is falling apart, wires everywhere, and curtains for walls.  We eat rice and beans, if we are lucky we get some eggs, but egg prices are going up.  As a teenager I would probably drop out of school and enter into a bad marriage with a guy who is older than me because I think he will save me from poverty.  He probably either likes to drink and/or is abusive to me.  I have a kid with him, but realize it is time to leave.  I end up marrying somebody else, and we have two kids, but he only wants to support the two that are his, so I have to take another job to support my first child.  My children grow, and they do the same that I did.  I will work until I can’t, and then I will beg on the streets.

 

I am not explaining this reality of millions to make anyone feel guilty for what they have because I would be just as guilty.  I don’t have the answers on how to deal with this or why we got chosen to live in the land of abundance.  I am writing this because I see this story play out every day and I am getting ready to move back to the land of abundance and I don’t know how to deal with these two realities.  Nobody should be able to own a recreational laptop until people stop starving to death or dying from not being able to purchase basic medicine.  However, I am writing to you on my own laptop and unless it gets stolen, will probably continue to do so.

 

So what is the answer?  I obviously don’t have one, but I guess what I have decided is that I am going to do my best to live a simple life.  I want to pick my dreams and chase after them, but I want to do it in a way that I am living under my means and giving away as much as possible.  The giving will have to start slow due to student debt and friends in other states getting married ;), but I can start on the other things.  I will learn to budget, I will learn to shop smart, I will learn to ride my bike instead of driving my car, I will learn to take shorter showers, I will learn the art of reusing and fixing before buying new.  This is what I want, and I am writing it so you can all keep me accountable 😉

Gymnastics at work…absolutely:)

 

A sign we have been living together for awhile now!

Going back to the U.S. is going to be hard.  I have this idealistic idea of what I want my life to look like, but my dreams are heavy and life is often more difficult then we expect it to be.  However, I have to do my best because Maribel was the little girl selling tortillas on the side of the street because her stepfather refused to pay for anything that she needed.  I will do it for Donald who’s parents didn’t have enough money to keep him and was sent to work and live at an orphanage.  I will do it for them and I will do it for Susie who is the old lady at my work who is too sick to work but too poor to stop, and for my next door neighbor who married into an abusive relationship to escape poverty only to enter right back into it again.  I will do it for the families all throughout the world who do not have food to put on their tables for dinner tonight.

The babies!!

 

The TRAIN! The best way to get the kids from one place to another!

 

50 More Days of Rain May 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aimee Breuker @ 5:56 pm

Due to the rain there has been a lot more power outages lately.  One day I came home from work tired and a little cranky because the power was out again.  I just wanted to eat and go to bed.  Since the power was out, I figured that I could make my excuses to go to bed early without any problems.  After spending a day with 23 children, and coming home to a crying baby and a seriously ADHD 5 year old boy who was upset about not having TV, it was just about more then I could handle that day.

This would be my road that turned into a river

Nicaraguan Sunsets

I ate my dinner quickly, and as the sky turned black, the candle light was the only thing illuminating the faces of those I have come to love.  The baby crying, Maribel getting after Nata for something or other, my head pounding, and all I could think was my time here is short and it is best not to waste a second.  I got up from the table and grabbed the glow sticks I had been saving for a special night.  What could be more special then a cranky family going crazy?

 

I started taking them out, and Nata is looking at me like this is the lamest toy every.  I put two glow sticks around his wrists, two around Maribel’s, and two around my wrists.  Nata is just standing there looking at them saying “I don’t get it Aimee,” and then I showed him how to play.  We were all still cranky and the tension was still in the air, but it started to ease away slowly, until the crankiness turned to laughter and the tension disappeared.  We danced, we tossed them up in the air, we threw them at each other, we took funny pictures, and we combined them and did tricks.  The three of us took those moments of darkness and made them something special.

Fun with the Camera

Donald came home, and we started the process all over again, playing and laughing.  Not long after, the lights came back on and we breathed a sigh of relief.  We all sat there looking at each other until Maribel got up, turned the lights off, and we continued to play.

 

I wonder how much we let tiredness and crankiness get in the way of experiencing joy, even in the dark.  I have a timeline here; I don’t get forever with this family.  I get eleven months.  Eleven months to spend with this family who I love as my own.  Eleven months breaks my heart because I want forever with them.  How many people do we actually get forever with?  Both family and friends move away, we lose contact, we don’t talk to them as much as we used to, or they die before we are ready.  There are very few people we get to walk side by side with year after year.  I know how much more time I have with this family in my everyday life.  I know down to the hour.

 Mother’s Day

We don’t often know how much time we have with those we love, so get out of your chair and dance, even if it is dark.

 

Did that just happen? May 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aimee Breuker @ 10:22 am

Dear Brother of Princess Diana,

 

It was nice to see you yesterday in my work meeting …in Managua, Nicaragua… with only 20 some other people there… a little strange, but nice all the same.  Sorry I didn’t look my best for you yesterday.  You see, I woke up yesterday and put on my clothes to go play with some kids.  I then proceeded to walk to work for a half hour in sweltering heat.  When I got to work I found out I had to go to this meeting, and I was not happy.  I wanted to play with my kids; I did not want to sit through a meeting.  I changed my clothes, and was grudgingly dragged to a meeting.  I walked in and saw people from Korea, and from the United States, and wait…who is that person talking with an English accent…oh that was you, the brother of Princess Diana…no biggie.

 

I was going to talk to you, but I got too nervous, I was going to take a picture with you, but I figured my co-workers were being silly enough for the both of us.  I do appreciate the half smile we shared when we passed each other in the hallway during a break, what a lovely moment.  I am sorry I couldn’t see you today, as the sandwich I ate at the conference made me sick, but I hope the rest of your time in Managua was lovely and I hope you got to meet some of my kids.

 

Thank you for marrying such a cool women who started such a fantastic organization “Whole Child International.”  They have been such an incredible support to our orphanage, and I really cannot say enough about them.  In fact, anybody reading this letter should go check them out.  Without them, I think I would have pulled my hair out, or gone crazy, or taken all the kids from the orphanage and ran.

 

During the meeting I kept thinking about what different worlds we live in, and I am sorry that your life isn’t as cool as mine.  I get to play with kids, while you are stuck listening to meetings about kids.  I get to live in a house with a tin roof, and when it rains, that house with a tin roof chumps your mansion any day.  Although, if you would like to invite me for a stay in the mansion, that would be okay with me seeing as we are such good friends now!  However, I would appreciate having only one fork on the dinner table as any more than that stresses me out:)

 

Sincerely,

Aimee

 

Midnight Thoughts May 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aimee Breuker @ 10:44 am

This blog is dedicated to my parents who are the best example of Christ’s love through marriage and family.  To my parents who gave me the space I needed to grow.  To my parents who have never asked me why I am not married, or pushed me into that direction.  To my mom who killed my spiders, taught me how to cook, and showed me what it means to be a woman of grace.  To my dad who taught me how to change my tires, and took my phone calls on fire detectors and garbage disposals, who showed me what it means to be a man of faith.  To my parents who taught me that some of the best things are worth waiting for until they are right.

This blog is for all you women out there, or for all you parents out there who have daughters, especially if you are raising them in the Christian faith.  I wanted to bring attention to something that has been bothering me for quite some time.  I asked my girl friends who are in a similar spot in their life if they were bothered by the same feelings, and the answer was a resounding: YES.  So I decided I should share our struggles.

In the Christian community a lot of emphasis gets placed on girls to find their “Christian husband.”  Thankfully my parents have never put pressure on me to find “that special guy.”  That doesn’t mean that the pressure wasn’t felt by the Christian community surrounding me.  Surprisingly, I didn’t go to my college to find a husband.  I went because it was a great school with a great international studies program; I went because I wanted to.  Shockingly, I graduated without a husband (please understand my sarcasm!)

I am a 25 year old single woman (did you catch the part about me being a woman?)  I am not saying that I have all the wisdom, and therefore you should respect me.  I am however saying that I have some wisdom, and you should respect me for who I am.

I do not believe that a wedding ring has special powers to transfer wisdom.  I believe wisdom is learned by mistakes and accomplishments, by life experiences.  If you believe that wisdom is learned by life experiences, then can you tell me I am not having life experiences?  Albeit they are different life experiences then a 25 year old married woman, but does that make them less significant?  I don’t have a husband and kids to worry about, but they aren’t there to help either.  So when I got a spoon stuck in my garbage disposal last year, I got it out.  I paid my rent, I worried about paying my student loans, I killed those stupid spiders in my apartment, I took out my garbage, I called maintenance, I change my own tires.  I do that.  Am I still a child?

Some of you might think: “Aimee, you are preaching to the choir”, but am I?  When I talk to my friends, the friends who live in the same city, went to college with me, or the new friends I have met through my program who live throughout the U.S., they all tell me their stories of when people have made them feel like less than a woman due to the fact that they are not married.   To me and to my friends, it seems like when you get married, you are suddenly put on a different pedestal.  People look at you differently, treat you differently, and I know this because I have seen it and felt it.

I have been hurt by people’s off handed comments.  Sometimes those comments have nothing to do with being married or unmarried.  Sometimes they just have to do with me being too young to do, to see, or to understand.  If you are 60 and are telling me I am too young, okay, it depends on the situation.  If you are 28 and telling me I am too young, please, there is some 2 years difference, and you wouldn’t be saying that to me if I had a ring on my finger.

So here are some things I would like to ask or suggest:

  1. Please don’t make my womanhood be dependent on a man.
  2. Please don’t cast me into the same group as a 17 year old single woman.  There is a difference between us, please respect that.  Also please respect the 17 year old single woman.
  3. Please don’t ask me when I am going to settle down…that sure does not make married life sound fun to me.  While we are on this subject, please don’t tell me that my husband is waiting for me right around the corner.  I hope he is not waiting, I hope he is enjoying his life to the fullest, and I hope one day we crash into each other while we are both LIVING life.
  4. Please don’t pretend that sex doesn’t exist.  I have known about it since elementary school.  Knowing that it exists is not going to shatter my virtue.
  5. Please don’t tell me that I am too picky, I have a right to be picky about the guy I am supposed to spend the rest of my life with.
  6. To all the Nicaraguans out there…please don’t tell me that because I can cook, I am ready to be married.  That disturbs my poor feminist heart.
  7. Please don’t tell me that men don’t find feminism attractive.  I have plenty of guy friends who are feminists, it’s not a disease.
  8. Please don’t say “Well that’s why you don’t have a husband!”  Come on now, do you really think that is polite?

Being married is beautiful.  Being single is beautiful.  Being a woman is beautiful.  Please don’t take away from my life experiences; please don’t count them as less.  I am a 25 year old woman; please tell me you heard the part about me being a woman.

 

Voices April 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aimee Breuker @ 10:58 am

I had my first yelling argument in Spanish today.  I was a little proud of myself, but not proud enough to overshadow my anger.  Why does money and skin color have to define so much about this world?  Why do some voices in their whispers come out screaming, while other screams come out silent?

 

Today we had a group from the United States come and visit our center.  We finally had enough helpers to take all the kids out on a walk; they love to go on walks.  In total with the kids we walked around a mile, maybe a little more.  We had wheel chairs for those that couldn’t walk, or stopped wanting to walk, while others were being carried, and others still who walked the whole way with these big smiles on their faces.  They were happy and content.  I would know because I would do anything to keep these kids from harm.  I would step in front of a moving bus for them.  I would prefer that not to have to happen, but I love them, and I want them to have the best life they can; walks included!

 

One of members was not happy, he was angry with how far we walked and he was angry that his group was spread apart.  He was angry to the point that he was yelling at the director, at the office workers, at the workers who know these children at the orphanage better then they know their own children because they work 48-72 hours a week.  He has been in Nicaragua for five days; I have been here for 8 months.  In 8 months I have learned that these kids love nothing more than an afternoon walk.  In fact my arm nearly gets pulled out of its socket every afternoon from kids begging me to take them on a walk.  They literally lead me right to the door.  In 8 months I have learned that 8 months is a short time to really get to know the problems and to start making changes.

 

Does he not know the power he has?  Or does he know?  He is a white male from the United States which to Hogar Belen means “money” which means “donations.”  This means that anything he says, goes.  This means that by next week I can almost guarantee that there will be new rules and regulations regarding when and where we can walk with the children.  This means that the workers are going to be too annoyed with the new rules that the children will not be going on walks for a long time to come.

 

If all the workers were to gather together and scream about their working conditions, about their lack of pay, about the degrading rules they put up with, what would come out would be silence because nobody would hear them.  But this one man comes in with his ideas, and the whole game is changed again.  But it is not a game, it is the lives of the workers, it is the lives of these precious children.

 

Why didn’t he say something when he was frustrated, before his frustrations turned into anger and his anger into yells?  Why didn’t he pull my director aside and ask for a private conversation?  Why didn’t he ask for all the information about the children before he decided to “save” them from their afternoon walks?

 

Often times, changes need to be made.  Maybe some of the new rules and regulations that are going to come of this won’t be all bad, and I know that for my part, I will keep taking the children on walks.  What hurts my heart is that he added another separation between the haves and haves not.  He didn’t know that the workers already don’t like it when the visitors/volunteers come to visit/volunteer.  He didn’t know that the moment they arrived at the center their opinion is more important than the workers who have raised these children for the last 10 years.  He didn’t know, but he should have known before he started yelling at the people who have no voices to be heard.