Tag Archives: privilege

The Front Lines

“Why do you do these things?” Aldonza vehemently exclaimed. Several days earlier this man had entered their little town doing the most peculiar things.
Puzzled, Don Quixote replied, “What things?”
“These ridiculous … the things you do!”
“I hope to add some measure of grace to the world,” he said softly but with a strength she had never encountered before.
“The world’s a dung heap and we are maggots that crawl on it!”
Don Quixote answered with compassion, “My lady knows better in her heart.”

 

An apathetic comfortable conformity to the society in which one lives is the most subtle form of  unconscious slavery. It’s nothing short of a suppression of the truth and of the abundant life.

When people (westerners) think of “the front lines” of battle or hardship, they often picture places that lack physical comfort and development, where wars, crime and terrorism reign and poverty dominates. Places like Syria, Afghanistan, Venezuela, South Sudan and Northern Uganda come to mind. Maybe one pictures the impoverished people living in the slums of Nairobi in Kenya or Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Truly this is where the wars are being fought, right? Continue reading “The Front Lines” »

Lake Bosomtwe

“Abroad is the place where we stay up late, follow impulse and find ourselves as wide open as when we are in love. We live without a past or a future, for a moment at least, and are ourselves up for grabs and open to interpretation. We even may become mysterious – to others, at first, and sometimes to ourselves” – Pico Iyer, Salon 

Standing in the calm of that warm shallow lake, my feet sinking beneath its soft sand, I had to admire exactly where I was. Just outside the bustling city of smog and dust, weathered “roads”, crumbling concrete infrastructure and mud-walled homes with rusty tin rooftops was a quiet serene lake surrounded by tropical mountains. Free from the threat of Crocodiles, there was no better place to contemplate life than the shores of Ghana’s Lake Bosomtwe.  Continue reading “Lake Bosomtwe” »

The Despair of the Privileged

It hits you all at once the moment you step off the plane. The first gulp of monstrously humid night lets you know that western civilization is over and you’re in “the third world.” From the comforts of the air-conditioned airplane, equipped with the latest technology and staffed by a blue-suited British flight crew to a makeshift warehouse-like ‘terminal’ crowded with African and Western passengers trying to make sense out of the chaos.

We had just left The Polar Vortex of the U.S. which was experiencing record-breaking cold temperatures, to the ungodly heat of sub-Saharan West Africa. I was caught off guard because my previous trips to Kenya had proven a hot climate but without humidity. Not so in Ghana, just a couple hundred miles north of the Equator, blanketed with an invisible haze of thick air. Outside the airport, mosquitoes and moths swarmed the lamp lights, bustling, honking taxis and rickety vans coated in red dust clogged the main road as throngs of people moved about carrying bags, luggage and baskets on their heads. One can’t help but fully absorb where they are and how far they’ve traveled when faced with that immediate shock of climate and culture. I had missed that exquisite rush. Continue reading “The Despair of the Privileged” »