Living in a fishbowl

It was the smell that first alerted my slumbering senses, the unmistakable smell of unbathed bodies and breath from mouths that had never been introduced to a toothbrush or toothpaste.

The smell was followed by the feeling of hot breath of little children who were blowing and panting with all their might in a diligent attempt to blow back the drawn curtain to our bedroom window. Their success in parting the curtain to look into our bedroom became apparent when I heard the snickers turn into giggles.

The early morning observers said, “I see her! I see her (puff puff, blow blow). It’s the white lady sleeping in the bed” (puff puff, blow blow)." That is the true story of how I was awakened on my very first morning as a missionary in a tribal village in Paraguay.

Fourteen years later, I can honestly say, that although I am accustomed to it, I am still learning how to thrive and respond appropriately to the complete lack of privacy we experience by living in a village setting. I still wonder if the children can tell how fake my smile is when they press their precious smiling faces as far as possible into the screens of the windows to “watch the reality show” of our lives and leave designs as varied as the clouds by rubbing their snotty runny noses up, down and across the screens.