Tuesday June 8, 2010
I’m LEGAL! Got my passport with visa back in less than 15 minutes from immigration yesterday that has to be a new record!
I also developed a new method for easing my heart stings with the begging children. I have such a hard time passing them with a cold stare, especially since they single me out (for obvious reasons) over every other passer-by. But giving a birr to everyone is nearly impossible and I would be out of taxi fare in 50 feet. So I have resorted to buying a pack of gum for only one birr and passing out the sticks…its 5 for the price of 1! I piloted this program today with great success. And while I don’t mean to make light of such a desperate situation, a little humor is the only way for me to survive, to not feel overwhelming guilty walking down the street with a bag full of groceries on my way to my nice house.
Nicholas Kristof, co-author of Half the Sky, an amazing journalistic book that addresses the global issue of gendercide on a human level, spoke at my high school’s seminar day. While I am disappointed to have missed him, the reporting article quoted him as saying, “you have won the world’s lottery.” That has NEVER been more apparent to me until now. Until I slip pass those outstretched hands, the days begging’s clanging in the tiny palms. Could I live one week, one day, one week even pleading for survival? Could I pick my next meal from the filth and sewage? It takes more bravery, humility and destitute than I could ever imagine.
I have this philosophy, and it is most important for days, like today, when the guilt crushes me; when I begin to think “who am I to be this lucky?” And maybe it’s just something I need to believe, but I feel,hat the moment I begin to suffer guilt is the moment I lose my ability to serve objectively. To feel shame is to lose perspective. To let it reach your core is to lose strength. There is no way to help everybody. No one saves the world alone, so I must stay my course, stick to my goals and pray that there are more people filling in the gaps.
In the end, who are we not to enjoy life? I believe the human spirit is resilient beyond imagination, and goodness will always triumph. I believe in my part in that victory. Just because I get angry about injustice, frustrated with myself fro only being able to do so little, especially now, when it’s all right in front of me does not mean I neglect to realize the privilege I have of doing this work. And while I might be here to teach and observe, in the end, all those I meet, children and adults alike, have been my teachers. They have carved and shaped me in still unthinkable ways. They are the life’s lessons personified, I don’t know if I would otherwise learn. Their names and faces may be fleeting, on days memories, another days ghosts. But they should know, and they never will, that they have made my life triumphant, joyful and valid. They made me.