maanantai 1. heinäkuuta 2013

Day 268: Stepping into a developing country


Yet another culture shock, this time the biggest so far. I am living luxuriously in a house and even here some of the basic commodities are missing. I am adjusting, though. What it seems to require is taking one step at a time, not looking ahead, focusing on the necessities, focusing on survival. And that's the most interesting thing: once put in a developing country with little to no infrastructure, all I can focus on is survival. Having a house like this and not living in the bush enables me to do something besides surviving, such as writing right now like this. I'm starting to have a clue of what it means in practical terms that giving everyone the basic infrastructure for survival would release them for “higher” kinds of human functions. When the heat is killing you, all you can do is look for a shade and sleep it off. When you're devoured by thirst, you track down water that's drinkable – if you're lucky, you'll find a tap. When you want to eat, you take what's offered – and if you get picky and want some vegetables with your noodles and rice, you take the 30 minute walk to the market stalls down the uneven mud paths. And this is how the day is spent. In the fulfillment of basic necessities. If a child is lucky enough, he/she will not be needed to take part in these activities and may have a chance to go to school. Otherwise, there's just no place for studying. There's no energy left for it.

I do not see why some people glorify these kinds of conditions, because the problems caused by them are unnecessary: a small wound may get so badly infected just because of the heat and lack of hygiene that it may require hospital care. This all may be fun if you're taking a holiday from your everyday life, staying in a bungalow at the resort areas and taking organized cruises to see the dolphins – people might even say it's “relaxing” to be in a place so primitive – but that's just because those people don't actually live here, they have a place to go back to, somewhere to return to once it gets too uncomfortable. The only thing so far I've found enviable is the night sky. Here it actually gets dark so you can actually see the stars, milky way and all, and that helps you remember where it is we actually are: on a rock floating in space. It would be awesome to find a way to reduce light pollution in the busy parts of the globe.

So I will be living the local's life here – no resorts, bungalows or cruises, just the everyday drill. There will be some work but mostly chilling and taking care of basic needs. I am looking forward to this learning experience because it is unlike anything I've ever experienced before, and also, I think, one of the most necessary things I have ever done. It's time to bring in some perspective.

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