Irreversible

4 Jul

I once met a woman who said that knowledge is freeing and that students have access to that freedom, but they don’t take advantage of it…they complain about the papers they have to write, the tests they have to take, the notes they have to make.
“Students,” she said, “Don’t realize the blessing they have, as with people we don’t realize the blessings we have until those blessings are taken away.”
Well, I must say that she was making a cliche but ever true statement. To often the blessings and gifts we receive are thrown to the wayside and forgotten, neglected…any other adjectives that I can use to describe what I’m trying to say? I could carry the metaphor and say that we’ve left them out to shrivel and dry in the hot sun…but I think that you probably get my point.

In Mongolia, the gift of faith is not so readily available. The church there is only 21 years old…I’M older than the church of an entire country. Mongolia is predominantly Shamanistic Buddhist, that is they believe in taboos and Buddha. throughout their country there are trees draped in the finest cloths because the trees are indicative of the Mother Tree.  Surrounding the Mother Tree there is a wall made of bricks of dried leaves (I can’t quite remember if they were Tobacco leaves or not) and matches. There are patches of fabrics hanging throughout the space leading up to the Mother Tree. On those patches there are prayers written in the language spoken by Tibetan Buddhists…the Mongols don’t understand it…but they pray them. Faith is not part of their religion, routine and making sure you do the right things so as not to offend the spirits. Faith is hard to come by.
In Canada and the United States, faith is readily available and readily accessible for those who would wish to accept it. God is loving to the entire world, don’t get me wrong. But in Mongolia, those who believe are said to be cursed by the spirits. They are thrown out of their homes, forgotten about by their families.

In Mexico, water is precious. In El Salvador, drinkable water is called Sweet Water, it is so precious, its hard to come by. Water comes in large blue containers and that is the water you drink…not tap water. In Mexico simple things like a laundry hamper are hard to come by. In El Salvador each child has perhaps one toy…only one. In Mongolia children who cannot be taken care of are quite literally thrown out, left in the gutter. Children in Mongolia find man holes to live in throughout the winter and that is what they call their home. In Mexico, apartments with two rooms to fit five people is usual. In El Salvador, in a town called Plante Nueva, a home has three rooms, hammocks, the walls are rock…bare, no windows and the fire is kept outside under a canopy made with metal roofing.

In Canada and the United States, walls have layers, bricks, dry-walling…water is accessible and disposable. Children have electronic toys and many of them…I’ve seen rooms and rooms of toys that children don’t use and yet they are given more depending on their age. If a child is two, they get stuffed animals, four they get a game, if their six they get books with talking pictures.
When did the discrepancy start? How did we get so divided? What happened?
How can we rectify it? Make it even across the board.
I recently went to conference where lobbying the government is thought to be the way to change things, with policies and government officials. Summits like the G20 and the G8, are seen as the way to make change. Maybe it is.
But a woman I met said that those conferences are just grand leaders from the great countries who don’t have the problems of the little countries and they decide what they think what would be best for those countries. Those leaders have decided what those little countries should do. Have those countries had any say, were they involved in the discussions, taught what might need to be done? No. And sometimes those summits come up with unrealistic goals for the little countries.
According to this woman, they’ve made someone’s hunger a bureaucratic issue. Should it be? I’m not pretending to have the answers here, I’m simply making a statement and writing about what I have learned. What have I learned? That there is a large discrepancy and there shouldn’t be. For one thing the world produces enough food for everyone to eat. I know there is enough technology to share, I know that if we tried, there would definitely be enough clothing and even money (despite the fact that the strong capitalistic countries today say that the world is on the verge of an economic crash).

Solution? Again I don’t have the answers, but maybe making a way to the answer begins with simply caring about these issues and wanting to do something about the problems. Maybe the people who have been searching for these answers for a while now…think the same thing. Maybe it begins with awareness.
Maybe our generation (that has been tagged with complacency) will change and we’ll be the ones to change the discrepancy-what many have called irreversible.

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