Friday, January 8, 2010

It's Just Another Day for You and Me in Paradise

Tomorrow we leave on a week long walk-a-thon, covering 100 kilometers, tenting out in the soggy plains (it finally started raining, 3 months/3 years late), and eating a lot of goat stew. I would feel less trepidation about it if there weren’t so much tension circulating amongst the Americans; in fact, I think that might be the thing in the world that I find most unpleasant, interpersonal friction… which goes to show how charmed my life really is. Everything outside of that seems to pretty much take care of itself for me -- when I’m hungry there’s food, when I’m tired I rest, when I’m angry or lonely I have a little tantrum and get attention or love. I am blessed.

The other day we were in Nairobi in a car we hired on account of the matatu (public transport) strike. From the corner of my eye I saw someone at the car window. I looked away, ignored them, ate a piece of bread, started to polish my apple. I perceived it was a woman, young. She swung her baby from around her back and pointed to it, and some terrible cynical voice inside me said “yeah, nice ploy”, but really what I felt was fear -- afraid to make eye contact with her, to have her see me look and do nothing. The traffic started to move and Jeremy handed her one piece of bread through the window, and she took it not with the disdain or disgust I had expected, but saying “thank you, thank you,” almost bowing to us, and the car began to pull away and I was suddenly full of panic, thinking why didn’t I give her this apple? Why didn’t I give her these dried pears for her child to eat? How could I be so fearful and selfish, when it means nothing for me to get enough to eat? I really felt like a piece of shit. I don’t want to be afraid to look at those who are suffering, and I know there will be more of it to come. I hope I can do the right thing when it comes.

1 comment:

  1. You know you're dealing with a wonderful person when she moves to Kenya to teach poor children and she still feels like she isn't doing enough.

    You're marvelous, B.