Saturday, February 11, 2012

.poor poor pitiful me

I'm going back in practically a week. 8 days really but tomorrow is almost gone. a week.

I know I've already wrote a couple blogs lamenting my return and in fact I have nothing new to say.

It is just hard to go back. and hard is an understatement.

I just don't want to. I don't.

living in Tchad is torturous.

torturous is an overstatement, to be sure. If someone waved the Fox's book of martyrs in my face right now I would sigh and say, point taken. not torture. but close

tomorrow I need to order another bug net - my hut is about to be 120 degrees in the cool of the night and soon everyone including myself will be sleeping outside.

considering our compound is over run with about 20 goats, 30 chickens, 1 horse, 4 cows, umpteen creepy creatures, and sneaking rats it should be quite pleasant.

the thought of moving my fabulously arranged chamber through the door every night and every morning makes me tired already. and I won't do it. so I will get another mosquito net. just for rapid set up and take down, leaving my other one that doubles as bedroom and library intact. I think its brilliant, even though I'll be spending another $100.00 dollars on that purchase, not to mention the shipping costs for procrastination. lets see, how many lives could that money save? or all the money I have spent making myself happy, buying myself food, makeup, taxis, books, lasagna frita at Olive Garden.......

but still, I will be buying it tomorrow.

its disconcerting how easily I have slipped back into American life. the first 3 weeks were rough and i felt like my brain was a pot of melting mud and i had my moments of being genuinely appalled at the wastefulness and extravagance of this country and even my own life.

but then the bed was so comfortable.....
and the thermostat was so nice......
and the room was a blessed 68 degrees with the fan blowing.....
and the cheese sauce at mexican restaurants was divine.....
and the internet was fast.....
and the coffee was hot and I could see my breath in the morning air.....
and the bookstores......

can you justify buying multiple books about poverty, africa, the efficacy of foreign aid, and the Aids epidemic? can you justify all the money spent on being informed? does that make it right?
has anything I've been doing the last 5 weeks been right?

did poor sick recuperating me have the right to spend that much money? or waste that much time.

sure, it crossed my mind, buying a 7 dollar tub of ice cream - that that would have bought 3 bags of IVF back in Tchad
or, spending $30.00 dollars at a restuarant - that that is a months salary for my neighbors.

sure, it crossed my mind. but i did it anyway.

because, didn't i deserve it? didn't i work hard over there? am I not going back so therefore I should tear through as many american pleasures as possible?

where do you draw the line. how do you live with integrity in a culture that has completely re-defined necessity, re-defined normalcy, re-defined complacency.

and I fell for it all. I fell hard.

I bought things because I wanted them.

I ate things because I knew i wouldn't get them over there.

I paid for movies that I didn't have to see.

but should I have not done those things?? you can preach all you want while your in it, while your surrounded by hunger, and disease, and suffering. but when your out, it is criminal how easy it is to forget. how hard it is to translate your actions, the products you consume, to keep in mind those who have nothing, and to further believe that denying yourself will actually translate to helping.

how far do we take this responsible for our neighbors thing?

its a grey line. but maybe we should re-define it. maybe we should pull out a thick black magic marker.

maybe we should say - wasting money is wrong.

but then we have to define waste.
and then we have to define wrong.

and then we are back in the gray.

so, i guess I've been wrong. I have. how wrong, to what level, i'm not sure. but am i going to waste money tomorrow? most definitely. and when I'm back, working in Peds, will I fly into a rage about how they can't afford 20 cent medications? yes.

and am I looking forward to going back? no

talk to me in a month and i'll be preaching fire and brimstone and equality again. but right now, comfort has hypnotized me. so I guess I need the imminent rude awakening.

I feel like I need to stop outside myself, give myself a lecture, pick myself up by the backpack, and place myself firmly back in Chad.

because, quite evidently, that is where i need to be.


The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran. - on houses

And tell me, people of Orphalese, what have you in these houses? And what is it you guard with fastened doors?

Have you peace, the quiet urge that reveals your power?

Have you remembrances, the glimmering arches that span the summits of the mind?

Have you beauty, that leads the heart from things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain?

Tell me, have you these in your houses?

Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and becomes a host, and then a master?

Ay, and it becomes a tamer, and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires.

Though its hands are silken, its heart is of iron.

It lulls you to sleep only to stand by your bed and jeer at the dignity of the flesh.

It makes mock of your sound senses, and lays them in thistledown like fragile vessels.

Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.

But you, children of space, you restless in rest, you shall not be trapped nor tamed.

Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast.

It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.

You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors, nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling, nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down.

You shall not dwell in tombs made by the dead for the living.

And though of magnificence and splendor, your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing.

For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of thesky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night.

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