Monday, January 14, 2013

Out of Africa

It's not much longer now.

We will board a plane and fly away.  We will leave people who have so tangled themselves up in my heart that there will be no way to separate.  They will come with me and I will stay with them.

Tonight I stood on my back balcony and watched the boys play soccer. All they need is a ball and each other. That's probably why there's a soccer game on every street in the evening.  I thought about how a year ago I got off the plane expecting to feel so sorry for the people here. Now that we're leaving soon, I confess that I don't feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for us.

They don't have washing machines. So, the women get together to scrub their clothes, while they talk and laugh with their sisters and girlfriends.

They don't have electricity most of the time. So, they stay outside and visit with their neighbors and friends.

Their kids don't have video games and televisions. So, they create toys out of cans and string and other treasures they've rescued from the trash.

They don't have privacy.  So, they go with it. They live their lives out loud, with their neighbors.

They don't have a sophisticated trash and recycling system. But they don't throw most things away. They are extremely creative at new uses for things.  I am convinced Guineans are the world's best recyclers.

They don't have their own cars, or labor-free ways to transport things. So, they carry most everything on their heads and leave their hands free. From the rich to the poor, everyone has impeccable posture.

They can't afford the grocery stores. So, they grow and make their own food.

Africa has its problems.  So does America.
Africa does without many things---but they are rich in love and community and friendships.
While we overindulge in more and more things to make our lives "convenient"; While we try to hold on to our privacy; While we hide away in our houses staring at TVs and computers like statues; While we spend more time looking at things with our family instead of looking AT our family;  They are spending every waking moment talking to, looking at and living out their lives with the people they love...and the people they don't.

But when it comes down to it, that's what it's all about isn't it?'s all about people.

And on that front---they've got us creamed.

No comments:

Post a Comment