Apologies for the delay! The internet wasn’t working last night.
Today has been the first day that I have felt energized and normal since coming to Ghana. For some reason (perhaps the food, jet lag, lack of a sleep schedule, or not enough exercise) I have been very tired and constantly drained.
This morning I woke up to my boss, Oliver knocking on my door and interrupting a rather ridiculous dream. I was dreaming about an old cabin. I was climbing up the wall of the cabin using the ceiling rafters to get to the attic space for some reason. It was at this point I noticed a cute girl looking at me quizzically. Fast forward a bit through murky recollections of dreams and she was holding a withered and decomposing head by its hair like in the third Pirates of the Caribbean Movie. It was at that moment that I was woken up and in the utmost state of confusion. Why would she have a dried up old head and why am I awake. Needless to say I didn’t expect this to be a strong start to my day, but as I got up, forced my way into the perpetually cold shower and rinsed off I felt energized.
I was in quite a weird mood throughout the day, cracking jokes, coming up with crazy (and quite good) ideas, and enjoying every moment. We went to the field this morning to visit some weavers at their village. When we got there I was still punch drunk and half asleep, but I did my best to pretend at confident alertness. There were maybe 15 women sitting on the ground as they weaved the beginnings of the baskets we had ordered from them. Their children wandered around them, crying, whining, and more than anything else staring at Andrea and me constantly. My only goal in life was to make them smile and I did everything I knew how to do towards my goal. I played peek-a-boo, I fist bumped them and exploded it, and I even climbed up on a big boulder with them, but all to no avail (the boulder thing got a kick out of the weavers though. They like when I climb things).
We finished our meeting and moved to leave when a woman came up to Andrea and gave her a sort of awkward hug. Andrea and I exchanged clueless glances and then she realized that the woman wanted her water bottle but wouldn’t ask. Andrea gave it to the woman who brought it over to the dried grains the children were eating and poured it into their bowls before taking a big drink as we drove away. I was again rather brought back to earth by the simple things that I take for granted every day. To yearn for water is something wholly unknown to me and I don’t know if I will ever understand the feeling. Sure I’ve been hiking with my best friend Owen and we’ve left our water at home like dummies but I’ve never truly been without water. It’s something so simple and ordinary to me yet so needed and special to these villagers on the outskirts of Bolga.
In the book, Dune, by Frank Herbert, there is a desert planet called Arrakis. On the planet, water is the most precious thing and it is conserved in every way possible… Except, the rich have gardens with excesses of water just to gawk at. In our world, there is a similar pattern. Today, I was creating a budget tool on excel for myself to plan my income and expenses after I graduate from college (if you want to know more, lmk. I am SO excited about it and could talk your ear off for ages. Also, if you want help budgeting, let me know!). Anyway, while creating it, I included an automated taxation row that would take off a percentage based on my annual income. In doing so, I found that there is only a 2% increase in income tax above $82,501/year all the way until 157k. I’m sure that I’m out of my depth of knowledge here, but I think that it makes more sense to tax not in brackets but exponentially, depending on where one lives, the cost of living, and how much they make. We have the technology to program an automated tax that is personalized to each citizen of the US and yet our government is run by old people who might not even think about this (I’m being a naive and grumpy young person on purpose here FYI).
The point is, the rich still get richer as they always have throughout history. There have always been class divides and there has always been poverty. To add on to yesterday’s post, anyone reading this post has a responsibility to do with our lives what we can to help others. Privilege demands responsibility. Optimistically, we must do what we can. Realistically, I’m not sure how to escape the comforting desire to have a nice life with a comfy bed and cool headphones. I have been wondering what sacrifices are worth it and which are too much. I don’t know. I’m sure that trial and error will provide some answers.
Peace be with you,