Lima Peru
Well here I sit in the airport awaiting my flight to Cuzco trying to mentally prepare myself for the arduous hike along the Inca trail. At the moment, however, I am feeling a bit down. I'm struggling to hold back the tears. Ooops lost one, rolled right down my cheek and unto my keyboard…
Seems our taxi ride to the airport took us thru part of Lima's shantytowns. It's always hard to see squalor. It's hard to see those who are less fortunate. Those who have managed to slip through the world's safety net and are left dangling by a thread. It's hard to be confronted with the reality that so many people endure unimaginable existences.
Sometimes we turn a blind eye to the suffering in the world. We cocoon ourselves in our nice little neighborhoods and fill our worlds with made up problems about getting this done and that done. Fretting about our careers or our wardrobe or our retirement…
I guess you could say I had one of those electric moments. One of those moments when you make eye contact with someone and you communicate at a deep level. Usually, this picture is painted in romance novels, 'their eyes met from across the room and they both knew true love.' My eyes just met a young girls'. I'm guessing she was maybe 4 years old. She approached our taxi amongst the chaos of the street as we pulled up to a red light. She managed to avoid 4 or 5 lanes of traffic to make it to our little taxi. She pulled out a dirty rag and tried to clean our taxi's windows. Her tiny dirty face pressed closely up against the glass and her eyes met mine. Seemed I could peer right into her soul. I could see her desperation, her sadness, her grim acceptance of life's unjust meting of her being born into a world of squalor. She listlessly wiped at the windowpane. The light quickly changed and our driver sped off. Leaving that girls eyes indelibly imprinted on my retina….
I'm left pondering her fate. Left pondering what could I do to help her. Would leaving 1 or 2 or even 20 dollars really help? Would it alter her course in life? As we drove on I saw many little girls trying to eek out an existence: many little girls and boys and mothers and fathers…. All desperately trying to survive amongst unimagined filth.
Sometimes viewing all this makes swallowing hard to do….
I like to solve problems. I like to understand how situations like this come about and what can be done about them. I guess like the girl who tried to wash our taxi's window I am left with a feeling of futility…
Just now I'm watching a different group of people all scurrying about. They are waiting for their airplanes. Contemplating their travels, eager for what lies ahead of them. My mind is left trying to mix this vision with that of the little girl's eyes. It's like trying to mix oil and vinegar. I just can't seem to get a consistency that works for me. At the moment I am simply haunted by the little girls eyes. They seem to be staring at me from behind my eyelids.
Looks like they are making my boarding call. I'll try to push my vision of the young girl's pain and suffering aside and get on with my trip, with my life.
Although, at the moment it just doesn't feel like the right thing to do.
My Blog
Saturday, December 22, 2001