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Take it With You

heavier things, human rights, storytelling

I stepped off the van to come face to face with Monica, a beautiful 20 year old girl with a bright smile. Bienvenidos! We follow her down to her house.

She motions for us to sit in a small room. There are flies on every surface, but we sit and they circle around us. I did okay the first few days with the flies, but now I am starting to unravel, and I’m angry at myself for being unable to restrain from shooing them away from my face. Monica shows us her cement-block home and her parrots and introduces us to her lovely parents. Her house looks like all of the others I’ve seen this week.

house

Take it With You

dina-monica-house

Take It With You

Monica was a World Vision sponsored child, as was her older sister, Dina, and as was her mother. Dina and Monica went through World Vision’s Suzuki method music program, and now Dina makes a living teaching music to children.

Dina and Monica play us a few hymns on the cello and flute, respectively. Their parents watch quietly and the pride in their faces is heartwarming. Monica speaks to us about how grateful she is to God for everything he’s done for her; to her parents for everything they’ve done for her. Everything about her is genuine. Her voice cracks, and she is crying.

“I want people to know that even though we are indigenous people, even though we are poor, we are rich because we have family and love.”

I lose it. I just completely lose it. I’m crying and mascara is running down my face and I’m wiping my eyes on my sleeves. Twenty minutes ago I had stood in inch deep mud and stared at a pile of dishes on the dirt ground and felt sorry for her and the way she was raised. I felt sorry that she was poor.

And I think about my own childhood. The home I grew up in had indoor plumbing and soft furniture, but it was also marked by brokenness and heartache and some things that I have not been willing to share, and I realize that I am a fool. How many in the US are rich in possessions, rich in things, but poor in spirit? Poor in gratitude and love and support and family? Poor in the things that really matter?

“We are rich because we have family and love.”

You Can Take It With You

“I want what she’s got,” Matthew says, and all of us nod in agreement.

Monica replies, “You can take it with you.”

And I will.

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51 Comments

  • Reply Katie Nelson September 13, 2013 at 11:17 am

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

    • Reply Roo September 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      Thank you so much, Katie. ♥

  • Reply Sarah September 13, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Each of your posts about Guatemala has been so incredibly touching. I have been inspired to sponsor a child, and I am looking forward to supporting them in hopes that they will grow up in just as loving an environment to be as strong and beautiful as Monica is.

    • Reply Roo September 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      Thank you SO, so much, Sarah. You cannot imagine a child’s excitement over getting a sponsor. :)

  • Reply Marisa September 13, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Just what I needed today Roo! You are touching my heart this week. Reminding me that God’s plan is always bigger than mine. Thank you so much for sharing your trip with all of us. It really is a blessing. More than you know. :)

    • Reply Roo September 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      I am so glad, Marisa. Thank you so much!

  • Reply Sarah F. September 13, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Every single post about your trip has made me tear up. You and mommasgonecity are doing great work and you are sharing such inspirational stories. Thank you!

    • Reply Roo September 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      Thank you so much, Sarah! I’m really happy to be sharing this experience with Jessica, too. :)

  • Reply Kelsey September 13, 2013 at 11:32 am

    This post gave me goosebumps. It’s so great you are there and sharing your experiences with us.

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks so much, Kelsey. I look forward to sharing more. :)

  • Reply Tanja September 13, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Your posts this week have put things into perspective for me. Thank you for sharing your trip with us and helping me see the light.

    • Reply Roo September 13, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Oh Tanja, thank you so much for reading. Means so much to me!

  • Reply [Guatemala bloggers] Seedlings | WORLD VISION BLOG September 13, 2013 at 11:45 am

    […] Roo Ciambriello: “Take It With You” […]

  • Reply Brad September 13, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Thanks, Roo. Thank you for going. Thank you for sharing. Just, thank you.

    • Reply Roo September 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      Thank you so much, Brad. Means a lot. :)

  • Reply Catherine September 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    This is exactly what I have been struggling with. How to push all the material stuff aside in importance and focus on the love. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Reply Roo September 20, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      It’s a hard line to walk, for sure, Catherine. Especially in our culture.

  • Reply Kristin September 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I have yet to comment on these posts from your trip, because usually I’m left teary-eyed and without words. All I can really say is thank you for sharing this experience with us all, for reminding us that we have so much to learn from each other in this life, regardless of circumstance. Thank you for making me realize (or remember) that those of us who do not want for necessities in life sometimes need to take a step back and not only find ways to help others, but find ways to help ourselves see what really matters in life.

    /end teary rambling

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Ohhh Kristin!! :’) Thank you so much for reading and commenting. ♥

  • Reply Rennie September 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    THIS.

    Thank you so much for sharing, Roo. *hug*

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      Hugs right back. Thank you, Rennie!

  • Reply Kat September 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    LOVE!!

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks, Kat! ♥

  • Reply christina September 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Beautiful Roo. Praying for you and following every post. So grateful you are seeing the beauty of the poor. I saw the same thing in Africa. The children were so happy. They had toys made out of metal, wood and scraps that they collected and put together. Yet they loved them. Made me think of the excess we have here and how we have so much yet are often happen. We can truly learn from the nations. Love u

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Love you too, Chrissy, thank you! :)

  • Reply Monica September 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Absolutely beautiful Roo! Thank you so much for sharing. Your words are a blessing. xo

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you so much for even reading them, Monica. (And thanks for that tweet!)

  • Reply Caroline September 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing all of this, Roo. Your stories, experiences, and pictures are amazing. I am sharing your stories with others, and hoping to adopt a child through World Vision soon. We had an adopted child from the DR when I was growing up, and I’ll never forget her letters and pictures. I only hope to meet her one day as you have gotten to meet all these new loved ones in Guatemala. You’re in our thoughts & prayers!

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you so much, Caroline… for reading, for sharing, and for even considering sponsoring a child. :) xoxo

  • Reply Nicole September 13, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Roo! Your posts this week are beautiful, and you’ve inspired my husband and I to sponsor a child close in age to our own daughter. I think I am going to give the sponsorship to my daughter as a Christmas gift… she is too young to understand right now, but I am excited to start the tradition with her.

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      I am so glad, Nicole! Thank you so much. :) Really, truly.

  • Reply Janelle @ Two Cups of Happy September 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Such a touching moment. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Reply Natasha September 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    And more of the crying….. This is beautiful, I love this story. She is very, very rich-and what a graceful heart to realize it. Thank you for sharing this with us!!!! Reading your posts this week has really helped put some things back in perspective :)

  • Reply Suz September 13, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Oh Roo! This is me. This is my experience. I am a godmother….in Esteli, Nicaragua…I took 8 of my students to Nicaragua in July and our lives changed forever… We have so much…but so little…the children of Esteli taught me about what matters….

  • Reply Shauna September 13, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    So many other blogs I read have traveled to various countries with World Vision, but no one else has made me be able to cry like you have, in a good way. You have such a way with words, and I absolutely LOVE hearing their stories here. I pretty much want to be Monica when I grow up, because she just has it right. Love this so much.

  • Reply Jenn September 14, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I love the way you’ve been expressing and sharing your week.

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      Thank you, Jenn! :) :) :)

  • Reply Introducing my fellow World Vision Bloggers… September 14, 2013 at 9:28 am

    […] Roo Ciambriello shared the story of sisters Monica and Dina, and asked the question: “How many in the US are rich in possessions, rich in things, but poor in spirit?“ […]

  • Reply Introducing my fellow World Vision Bloggers… September 14, 2013 at 9:28 am

    […] Roo Ciambriello shared the story of sisters Monica and Dina, and asked the question: “How many in the US are rich in possessions, rich in things, but poor in spirit?“ […]

  • Reply Kaelyn September 14, 2013 at 10:18 am

    “You can take it with you”
    That sentence made me lose it. How foolish are we in the states? We so often think that they would rather have what we have, but then Dina, who says her riches are family and love, is more than willing to share the riches she has with us. World Vision has always been close to my heart, but now I see sponsorship, and their mission, differently. It’s not just to help the impoverished physically, but also give the impoverished spiritually a way to become richer as well.
    You’re beautiful, thank you for this post..

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      I lost it, too, Kaelyn. Full-on ugly crying in front of a bunch of strangers. Thank you for your comment.. really insightful and touching. I so appreciate it.

  • Reply VVednes Day September 14, 2013 at 11:09 am

    So beautiful! To live so simply and love so much- that’s what we all should strive for!

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Seriously, I’ve had Monica’s words in my heart all week long.

  • Reply Jacqueline September 15, 2013 at 10:07 am

    You already have it Roo. You just haven’t been as aware.
    They’re environment ingrains gratitude within them, ours does not.
    When I started a daily gratitude challenge and then my own gratitude journal I started to realize the riches of life in this way. So much to learn from each culture, person, situation.

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      I love the idea of a daily gratitude journal, Jacqueline!

  • Reply Erin September 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I can’t think about it yet, because I will lose it and I’m at work. Thank you!

    • Reply Roo September 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Thank you for reading, Erin!

  • Reply Introducing my new BFFs September 17, 2013 at 7:20 am

    […] with open arms. From the no-name blogger she just met, to the littlest child in the room. Her post “Take it With You” is an important look at what truly […]

  • Reply Bile Be Back - NEON FRESH September 19, 2013 at 11:06 am

    […] left a piece of me in Guatemala.  What?  Oh yeah, like a piece of my heart and like, love and my emotions and stuff (truly), but […]

  • Reply A Gift Unmatched - NEON FRESH November 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    […] the poignant words that made me weep into my sleeves. (If you’ve not yet read about Monica, the backstory is relevant here, and I suggest reading that before continuing on with this.) She had told us, through an […]

  • Reply Introducing my fellow World Vision Bloggers… « Micha Boyett March 20, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    […] Roo Ciambriello shared the story of sisters Monica and Dina, and asked the question: “How many in the US are rich in possessions, rich in things, but poor in spirit?“ […]

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