Remember when life used to be easy? In elementary school, I would come home from a long day of learning and be excited to see what Mom made for dinner. I used to play baseball with my neighbors every day; we would treat every game as if it was bases loaded bottom of the ninth at the seventh game of the World Series. Unfortunately, time passes and we have to grow up. I went from worrying about if my friends can play outside to focusing on grades and relationships. Nowadays we are constantly distracted by technology, social media, and our jobs that we never have time for the simple things that actually matter. It wasn't until I went on several service trips to the Dominican Republic that I learned this.
Waking up at 5:00 AM by a screaming rooster is only the beginning of a great day. On any average day this would normally bother me, but when it comes to the campo, the animals are the ones that rule. I usually check my phone to see if I have gotten any texts (out of habit) but due to the lack of cellphone service nothing gets through. Sometimes I find myself closing my eyes and listening to the animals walking around outside or even the motos that wiz past our house; just the sounds alone can put me back asleep because at that moment I know that I’m in the simplicity of the campo and whatever happens, happens for a reason. These are the moments I have been waiting for; when you take away the technology and distractions that we usually have, you start to appreciate what really matters.
One of the reasons why I love going back to the campo is the fact that we get to play baseball with the campesinos. Seeing their jerseys, equipment, and how they laugh at our inability to play takes me back to those days in elementary school where every game was bottom of the ninth. Win or lose we all go back home happy. It’s the simplicity of equality and friendship that further allow us to dig deeper into our own lives and thus appreciate what we have back home.
Simplicity in the campo means you appreciate what’s closest to you. After a long day at work in the campo I don’t feel the need to watch TV or go on my computer, I look forward to my bucket shower conversations with Javi or spending 3 hours just swinging on a hammock talking to the people that were initially strangers but within a few hours became great friends. During moments like these, nothing could escape you, every feeling and conversation is pure. There’s something in the campo air that makes the simple things the most powerful and what used to be important back home is now the last thing on your mind.
Very often I find myself wishing I was on those hammocks staring off into the mountains that surround us, or talking to the guy that guards our house during the day even though I cant understand a word he is saying. It took me a couple of trips to realize why I love going back to the campo but I realized I mostly go for myself. Being there takes away all of the “big” problems that we have back at home, and when I get upset at the small things I ask myself, “What would Moreno do?” and I just lift up my shirt and put two thumbs in the air and say OKAY, let’s do this!
I want to leave you with this quote that I think is the perfect way to describe the simplicity of the campo and how I try to take that simplicity into my every day life. “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” –Henry David Thoreau