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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)

TITLE: Plagued By A Piece of Cake
By Patty Wysong


I'm so excited I can't sleep. Tomorrow we leave on our missions trip and I can't wait. Cindy, my team leader, keeps asking me if I'm sure I want to do this. I keep telling her I love people and new experiences. This is going to be a fabulous two weeks, I just know it.

This place is beautiful! Palm trees line the streets and snow capped mountains are in the distance—just gorgeous! We're spending the night in a dorm that missionary kids live in during the school year and it's not much different than my college dorm. There's even a t.v. in the living room area, and we had meatloaf for supper. I don't see what the big deal was about and why we had to sit through all that orientation. Tomorrow we travel to Chillanes where we'll work on their church. This is going to be a piece of cake.

I thought we were going to die on the bus ride here! The driver was a madman! He flew around hairpin curves and wove in and out of traffic. He used his horn more than his brakes and he couldn't even stop someplace decent for us to use the restrooms. I have never seen, or smelled, such a disgusting place! The toilets were overflowing, there were no toilet seats, and you had to bring your own tissues in with you. When I started gagging Cindy led me around a hill so I could squat. If I hadn't been so desperate I would've waited for someplace with clean toilets.

It turns out Chillanes is a dirty little town. We're staying in rooms at the school where there's no glass in the windows and no running water: only a smelly outhouse.

When I mentioned the accommodations to Cindy today, she said, “I kept telling you this is how it would be and you kept telling me you could handle it.” She makes me so mad! There's been dirty kids hanging on her, and she acts like she loves the food. At lunch we got potato soup and bread, and supper was a huge plate of rice and beans with some cooked bananas thrown across the top. Of course, Cindy smiled and cleaned her plate. Everyone loves her—I just don't get it. Tomorrow we start work.

I am so tired I don't know how much I'll be able to write.
The work is harder than I thought it would be and people are always nagging me about being too stand-offish. I work hard, but I can't stand the food, and I'm starving. The dirtiness of everything is just gross, too. I'm glad the kids don't pester me anymore--their sticky, grimy hands give me chills just thinking about them! The adults are better, but they don't try to talk to me anymore, either. I smile at them and say, 'hola', but they just smile and go talk to someone else. I don't get it.

We went to another church today, even higher in the mountains and dirtier than this place. I forgot my candy bars and didn't get to eat anything all day. One of the old ladies there gave me some of those baby bananas. I smiled and said thank you, but I couldn't eat them after seeing her dirty fingernails. I threw them out as soon as I could. Later on she wouldn't even look at me but went and sat near Cindy. Of course Cindy put her arm around the lady and gave her a hug. How can she do that?

I shared a candy bar with one of the cleaner girls today. She laughed and ran off to share it with her friends. I was so weak I stayed in bed almost all day. Two more days here and then we go back to the city to fly home. The other girls are talking about how much they'll miss the people here, but I don't know why. I tried making friends with them, but even tonight they didn't want anything to do with me. And they say I'm standoffish!

Finally! We're back in civilization! I almost ate myself sick at supper. They served hamburgers and nothing ever tasted so good!

The people here are so much cleaner and friendlier. Why couldn't that village be like this? They don't treat me like I have the plague here-- I don't understand why the village people did.

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This article has been read 899 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 02/29/08
She sure didn't get it - that's for sure. You set up a very vivid contrast between the two characters - very nicely done. Love the title, too. Much to learn here.
LauraLee Shaw03/02/08
What an engaging story from title to end, and the format you chose made it that much better. Well done.
Seema Bagai 03/03/08
Great title and an engaging story.
Glynis Becker03/03/08
Oh sometimes we just don't get it, do we? Love the simplicity of one point of view and how well it tells the story. Great job!
Catrina Bradley 03/03/08
Great job telling this story and illustrating the topic in a diary format. Love it!
Jan Ackerson 03/03/08

I like that you chose to keep her clueless, rather than having a sudden, tidy epiphany. Some people are just like that, and it gave your story a real punch. Very good!
Pat Guy 03/03/08
What a great visual of two sides of the coin! Both types of actions that spoke volumes - yet one didn't learn a thing! What a great take Peej! I just loved it!
Debbie Wistrom03/04/08
Perfect title. Loved/hated your MC. I hope she leaned her lesson, but I think not.
THANKS for the eye-opener.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/04/08
You really created a strong character in you clueless MC. This was very realistiaclly don.
Leigh MacKelvey03/05/08
Loved the format and the descriptive writing. I was rmeined of a mission trip I took to Juarez, Mexico!Stinky holes in the ground for toilets! Your MC also reminds me of some of the snobby teen-agers who went along just for the " fun"! Nice writing.
Beckie Stewart03/05/08
What is sad is there are so many blinded by their own attitudes and actions and they really cannot see like this girl. This was well written.
Julie Arduini03/05/08
Awesome title, awesome story. Sadly I know this exists because I've seen it!
Sara Harricharan 03/05/08
WOW. This is certainly a whole different look on a mission trip. You took a different POV and made it so real. I liked Cindy though. She was different. and not goody-two shoes different, but real different. Nice writing. ^_^
Lyn Churchyard03/05/08
"A piece of cake" eh? Yep, she loves people and new experiences. Peej, you have done a great job here of putting across the topic. A masterful entry!
Sherry Castelluccio 03/05/08
Oh, this was another guilty pleasure. The poor girl really was clueless, wasn't she? Well, done, this was too much fun. Hee hee, I just rhymed! Great story with a great lesson to boot.
Laury Hubrich 03/06/08
Oh Peej! What a great piece of work! I love it! and love your title!