The Journey Home

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ponderings from Ethiopia

Does wealth lead to isolation? Does poverty necessitate interdependence? I watch life happening in Addis from my room's window. I watch a wealthy woman in her courtyard ringed with razor-wire. She sits alone with her beautiful toddler boy. Her estate shares its walls with a tiny village of homes made from crinkled sheets of silver metal, scraps of cardboard, and rope. This tiny village of homes has constant activity. A woman emerges from the makeshift gate to pour her dirty dish water from a bright red bowl. A boy walks from his house across the small courtyard to the open door belonging to a man who momentarily steps out to greet the boy, tweak his nose, and send him skipping on his way. Visitors walk in uninvited to chat with a woman starting a fire for the noon-day meal. And I wonder. Does this stark contrast, this picture of abject poverty sharing walls with wealth and razor wire hold a lesson for me? How beautiful it is to watch human beings NEED each other. In my world of the wealthy, no one truly needs another, depends on someone to help them in the hard job of surviving. I watch three children in brightly colored t-shirts scamper into the small courtyard of this tiny village made inside of this city and the quiet walkers passing the gate of the wealthy and I wonder. At what cost does my wealth come?

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