we are semester at sea
We are semester at sea.
We know what it is to leave home for places unknown.
We have heard The Voice’s voice tremble in fear.
We know what it is to be shipwrecked.
We know what it is to be hopeless in the middle of the Pacific.
We have been saved.
We have surfed, hang-10ed.
We have flown when others have shipped.
We have climbed to Great Wall, seen the Forbidden City, used Chop Sticks.
We have been begged, gave, turned away.
We have hopped the islands of Halong Bay.
We have walked in the Killing Fields of Cambodia.
We have climbed through the tunnels that assisted in the death of thousands.
We have seen the destruction of the Tsunami.
We have ached for the Tsunami People.
We have seen the Taj Mahal, seen the pyres on the Ganges in Vernasi.
We have swum in the Arabian Sea.
We have stayed in people’s homes that have nothing yet offer everything.
We will have seen elephants, giraffes, hippos, and rhinos.
We will have seen Table Mountain towering over the tip of Africa.
We will have flown through the sky, swum with the sharks.
We will have seen the streets of Rio, hiked in the Amazon.
We will have visited the beaches of Margarita Island.
We will have ended up where we started.
We will see it new, we will never be the same.
So many things are constant in my/our lives. I have never had to worry about where I would get food for my next meal. I have now seen people starving. I have never had to worry about having shelter. I have now seen the Tsunami people. The world carries a lot more than just us, yet we put the most weight on its shoulders. We have life the easiest, yet we demand the most. It is difficult to help the rest of the world when so many people don’t know what kind of or how much help they need. It would be a different story if we could look outside the window in our air-conditioned home to see the rubble of the Tsunami in our front yards. If we had to drive the streets of Ho Chi Min City in our luxury cars, we could more easily appreciate the pollution and overpopulation that many people tell us are problems in the rest of the world. Maybe globalization will bring these things right in front of us.
5 year olds begging, stray dogs, goats, monkeys, cows, elephants, dry latrines, uniform apartments in uniform apartment buildings city block after city block. These are difficult things to witness, but we have all seen them now, and we still have more to see. You can’t un-see them. But who else sees them? All of us came on this trip because we wanted to see these things, wanted to know what was out there that we have hear about but have never seen. But what about the people that don’t believe, don’t know, or don’t care? What about the people who think they need to deal with their own problems before they can help solve the problems of others? What about those whose world consists only of their front and back lawn?
We have learned about economics, and global economics. We have learned about politics, and global politics. We have learned about business, and global business. The first is very different from the second. We have lived where you can’t live on $12,000 a year, and we have been to where people have to live on $1 a day. I don’t know if I now (only half way through) enjoy every luxury that much more or that much less now. America is not the world, not everyone speaks English, not everyone watches Baseball, and not everyone is Christian. In fact, very few people do these things. We must step out of comfort ourselves, and push others out if they won’t follow. These are important lessons to learn, but everyone needs to learn them and time is limited. We are growing, fast. I believe that war, disease, famine are present to remind us that there is limited space here. Find peace here, and a new conflict will break out there. Cure this disease, and a new one will spring into existence. Feed one group, and another will go hungry. We can ease these problems, make them less horrific, but to eradicate them is simply impossible. Every life that we extend keeps a mouth around to be fed. The population is increasing because people are not dying, even though birth rates are dropping.
I can’t pose a solution, or even attempt at one. I just know that I have seen things that I know need to be fixed. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Fix it. There are some amazing people with some amazing ideas, but for every one of them there are so many more people who think backwards and work against the former. Gandhi was assassinated. MLK Jr. was assassinated. That is obviously not the correct way to fix problems. But there are over 6 billion people walking around, and hopefully one of them can add some insight. If not, soon there will be 10 billion, and maybe one of them will have an idea.
The anti-malaria pills give me strange dreams at night. Dreams with color, sound, and smell. They put real life situations in front of me sometimes. They are incredibly vivid, and sometimes awful. I woke from one of these this morning at around 6am. One person fell overboard, and the captain announced that we were not stopping to get him. There was an outrage; people became furious and demanded that we save the person who fell off. The captain explained that he wouldn’t bring him with us, because we were the ones who were doomed. 1 in 700 was saved. I don’t know if this is a good statistic for people living in luxury vs. people living in poverty, but it sounds about right after what I have read and seen.
Instead of going back to sleep, I decided to write it down.