Holly Robbins: Calgon Take Me Away

holly1For those of you who are less than 40 years old, let me explain what that title means. In the 70’s, there was a bubble bath commercial with that phrase. It featured a busy mother facing all the stresses of life, from screaming children to a husband impatiently waiting for dinner and everything else in between. In short, the commercial was implying that the woman DESERVED an escape from the stresses of everyday life to a perfect and quiet place of pampering and relaxation.
As our trip has ended, I’m reflecting on all that we have seen and done. We, as Americans mothers, have such a difficult and stressful life compared to the people of Ecuador. We have to make sure that we have the perfect house, with the beautiful wood floors and or plush carpet. Beds also need to be made and we have to pick up the 42 decorative pillows off the floor so that the bed looks just like the picture in the magazine. Our families must be clothed with “THE RIGHT CLOTHES” and that there are an adequate amount of accessories to complete each outfit. Then if we decide that our washing machine/dryer are not to our standards, we have the daunting task of deciding if the front load or the top load machine is the better of the two.
Then we must drive to the nearest Market Street for a basket load of food that will probably be thrown in the garbage because it will either spoil before we can eat it or it is just not what the family wanted. Next we must make each person in the family an individual meal in order to satisfy all the nutritional needs of the family due to the fact that there is often not a meal that all will eat. After that, it is a mad dash to get everyone to all of the activities that each is involved in, often leaving no time for good quality time together and falling into bed exhausted to start the day over again the next morning.
The mothers of Ecuador have an easier life because there is not the demands that we Americans have. First of all, there is often no floor at all (sometimes not even true walls). Most of what we have seen are either dirt floors or for those who are fortunate, a concrete floor. So therefore, no need to vacuum or dry mop. The kitchens we have seen have either been outside over an open fire or for the more fortunate ones, a stove and refrigerator but no need to do the dishes because the sinks are outside due to the fact that there is no running water to the house. But this is ONLY if there is actually food in the house to cook because more often than not, they have nothing to eat. These women are even so lucky as to not have to clean the bathrooms due to the fact that there aren’t any in the house. I could go on and on about the conditions but I think that you are getting my drift.
With all of the “REAL” struggles that the people of Ecuador have, one would think that they would be a bitter and angry people and would be angry at a God who would abandon them. But this is opposite to the facts. We have seen more joy and love from a people who have no material possessions. It has made us all look at our lives and appreciate how much we have been blessed by God but in the same way, how guilty we feel by being so blessed by God and how unappreciative we can be.
I feel that all on this trip have been blessed more than we have blessed the children and people of Ecuador. It has been a reality check on how much we have truly been blessed by God and how unappreciative we are, especially with our worldly possessions. To see how truly happy the people are in Ecuador with almost nothing is completely humbling. As we acclimate back to the land of plenty, I truly hope and pray that God has changed us and has softened our hearts to the fact that we can “survive” with less and transform us to a people much like the people of Ecuador. I am counting down the days until I can go back again. My new motto will be “Calgon, take me away, to an escape from stresses of everyday life to a perfect and quiet place of pampering and relaxation. Take me back to Ecuador!!!”