I live a perfect life. Not that I am perfect, far from it. Just ask family, friends or other ne’er-do-wells – and they will attest to that. But a perfect life – nonetheless – and not because of anything I have done.
I have clean water, electricity, access to medicine, housing, heat, sufficient food, a right to say my peace, respect, sufficient funds to afford these luxuries and the smarts to know that a newer car or a bigger ring won’t make a difference – even in the short run.
We have choices, options; we have the time and luxury to complain. I am wondering how do we help those that live hand to mouth? More than that, I am wondering why does anyone have to live that way at all? Why in a land as rich as Madagascar are so many so poor? With sapphires, gold and biodiversity beyond compare – why do so few have a share of the riches? Why are children, dressed in the best their families can afford, sitting roadside pounding granite blocks into bricks, bricks into stones and stones intro gravel? Why can’t they have choices?
We sit in Barcaloungers with our Kenmore-freshened clothes wondering why they can’t stop deforestation and understand the value of biodiversity? They are hungry and cold and as a very wise friend told me – the people did not choose deforestation – the government did. When the government does not care for the people, the people manage as best they can.
So fellow Barcalounging Kenmorians – what do we do next?
I went to Madagascar to find the lemurs and the people found me. In small googly-eyed stares from children surprised to see a “Yazo” in the village, to the desperate need of street beggars, to the highly capable and talented guides that led me through narrow canyon passages and from mountain top descents – all with care and knowledge of an Oxford scholar, but with none of the pretense. I met botanists, linguists, genealogists, counselors, artists, primatologists, ornithologists and none with the papers to prove it. But I would stake my claim with any of these self taught experts. If such raw talent exists, what would happen if they were warm at night or didn’t feel ancient beyond their hard-fought years?
I don’t know how to save Madagascar, or even my own neighborhood food pantry that runs dry from time to time. But I know what we are all better than this and that hunger and cold are to the detriment of us all.