By: Carl Erickson

A few days ago, after waking up to the cook and Uncle making breakfast at the lodge in Agora, I sat and observed the mountains around me. I stared for a good 20 minutes at the beautiful view.

After breakfast we were told to spend a few hours helping out the villagers of Agora. At first I was a little upset because I wasn’t feeling up to manual labor, but I found two women who were carrying their manure compost from their house up to their fields higher up on the mountainside. I offered them my help and they accepted. After one trip up and one trip down I was extremely tired. I was sure that was going to be it for me. However, I sucked it up and made four more trips up and down the terraces with a heavy load on my back.

During the last three trips I felt good about myself despite the work that I was doing. When I look back on the experience now, I realize that I achieve this feeling of satisfaction when playing music for people. I normally spend at least a hour a day practicing my church music that I play on Sundays. The feeling of struggle I had while working in Agora, although different, evoked the same hardship that I feel while working on music. Even though the people in Agora seem to be happy when doing their work, I know that some days are more challenging than others. Their work is so respectful to me because they do not have the choice to not take care of their animals, fields, families, etc. while I can choose to not practice for a day or two, the people in Agora cannot say the same about their work. I hope that I can remember the feeling of the ropes digging into my back and can always be mindful that I can always carry another load.

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