Sunday, July 10, 2011

Perspective

When the sun rises, I go to work,

When the sun goes down, I take my rest,

I dig the well from which I drink

I farm the soil that yields my food.

I share creation. Kings can do no more.

In response to my own mind becoming more and more pessimistic, I’ve tried to tone down my efforts of bigger picture accomplishments, and focus more on the here and now. I try not to think about 15 months from now, or 6 months from now, or about next week’s goals. It’s not that those goals have gone, nor does it mean that I’m not conscious of them, but focusing too much on accomplishment and tally sheets is simply not feasible in this culture. It’s not what I’m here for; it can’t be. It can’t be simply because it is not what the community is wanting, not what they’re asking for. And if they don’t want it, it simply won’t be done. Period.

That is pretty disheartening at times. Forget disheartening, it downright pisses me off sometimes. There are things that I could teach these people that could really make a change in this country; I believe that with whole heartedness. Some of them even recognize it to be true, but their resolve remains unchanged; it is a dream that they simply don’t share. Development, I’ll say. People have different reactions. For the older, more wiser people in the community, they’ll remain silent. In their hearts, they’ll ask me why. Why develop? Why work harder on something, with the chance that it will succeed or fail, than remaining the status quo and be sure to survive? Their parents did it this way, their parents parents. When something good enough comes to change our world, it will be shipped to us (old versions) for free, and other people will call it charity. The kids here are a bit different. They all play the part of being interested in wanting to become “modern,” they say all the right words, talk about sustainability, development, and gender equality. In the end they are exactly like their parents, just ignorant of what they are saying and what it entails.

So what’s my play? Is it my job to be acting as a fundamental element of change for these people? Is it even possible for me to do that? I hate it, but I see their point. If I was born into their world, I would be a huge proponent of staying exactly the way I am. I’m laughed at 20 times a day because of my weird notions, because I don’t believe in witchcraft (which is APALLING to these people, even the catholic priests), because I’m harvesting water from my roof even though I have a tap, because I’m trying to dehydrate fruit even though I have money to buy things year-round, regardless the price. Laughed AT; this is something that I’ve become used to, and have developed thick skin for; it is even a source of pride for me these days. Thus for me, it doesn’t matter; I’m already an outsider, I have the freedom to do as I please because it’s what is already expected of me. I get a free pass. But for these kids, being the oddity is the equal to death. They are in the circle; the culture of monotony has engaged it’s talons into them. For these parents, being innovative means you’re desperate, dumb, and disrespectful of the way “things are always done.”

Bottom line, I am starting to believe that my role is to be the person that people laugh at. Laugh at me all day long. For every 100 people that come, speak pretentious insults about my ignorance under their breath in a language that they THINK I don’t understand, there are 30 that are inspired. 29 are inspired not because of the idea, but because I’m white, and what’s more, a white American. But that 1 comes to me with a demeanor that neither reveres me nor dismisses me, challenges me on the feasibility of my idea, gives credit at times and is critical at others, and walks away with something to think about, with something that maybe worth his time. And that’s the person I get the number of, that I be sure to go and meet his family, drink his tea, and offer insights about the difference of our cultures, countries, politics, etc. That’s the person I came here for. It’s also the person I came to learn from.

And so the days continue.

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