My very mature younger sister has informed me that I am not a true missionary because I have never contracted head lice.
This is her third time.
I maintain that finding small worms on the floor of my bathroom and having to dodge bullets (or at least, hear them whizz past on occasion) more than makes up for the fact that my scalp doesn't itch...
But still. It does raise the question...my mission work is significantly more "cushy" than the majority of the people in my organization. The comfort level is balanced out by the fact that I live in what basically amounts to a Israel-Palestinian war zone and that the community radio is engineered for slow mental breakdown...like a 1980's elevator musak Chinese water torture...
Culturally, I'm a lot more at home here. The food doesn't make me crave anything other than Mom's lasagne, Planters' Cheese Curls, and assorted chocolate candies, most of which I can get sent to me in care packages from time to time. I don't miss driving all that much, though I do miss wide open spaces (but not the Dixie Chicks).
I don't have to use my hand as toilet paper.
Ah, the advantages of South America!
Sometimes, just sometimes, I feel guilty and sorry for my collegues working in India or Africa. But not for my sister. She's in Canada, for goodness' sake!!! Lice are a small price to pay to be able to speak English and get a visa in less than two years...and without having to do graduate level studies. In a foreign language.
So i think we're probably even.
I'd take her lice in a second if she's willing to write my thesis (15 pages in Portuguese) on "Cosmogonia e a Interdependência da Criação," chapter two of four in a monograph on "Ecology and Religious Education."
Ugh. What have I gotten myself into???