I’ve heard it said that North Americans take security for granted, like Guatemalans take the weather for granted.
And I think it’s kinda true.
I’ll never forget my first year here I heard a coffee farmer, named Felipe, share his story. Sitting in the center of a group of white, idealistic college students, he shared how his life had changed since joining this coffee cooperative 7 years earlier. He shared about how he now has a stable income. How he and his wife are working together to grow, pick and roast coffee to earn an income for their family. He by no means is rich by the world’s standards, but he has stability. And in the developing world, stability is worth more than gold when trying to get out of cycle of poverty. While he mentioned things like now he was able to send his kids to school and pour a cement floor to cover the dirt that previously existed, I’ll never forget what we was most proud of:
Y ahora tenemos una puerta.
He nodded his head as if trying to remind himself that it was in fact true.
“When we had saved up a enough, I took down the piece of metal that rested over the doorframe went and bought a real door. With a lock.”
A door. With a lock.
“We slept better after that. We felt safe.”
I had never before been thankful for a door. Never even given it a second thought. I, like probably most of you, I grew up in a house with a door and a lock and an expectation that I was safe. I had never thought about what a door provides. Behind a locked door there is security, rest and peace of mind. Can you imagine for most of your life living in a place where there were not such things? Not sleeping well because you knew someone could easily knock down the corrugated metal that leans on the doorframe. Fearing that anyone, at anytime, could enter your home and take what little you had. I think sometimes those things- the fear, the insecurity and the uncertainty, are what separate the poor from the rich. Those feelings run deep and affect they way you live. I have always had the privilege and security of a door. Even now I live behind two metal doors and a wall. But just outside my neighborhood are doors like the one in this picture. Yesterday while Elena and I walked along, I snapped this picture. Wondering how my life, or her life, would be different if this would have been our front door?