As I'm going through my pictures from my drive to Tana and back (that I keep writing about but have yet to post any pictures)...I'm amazed by how gorgeous they turned out.
I've seen a very, very small percentage of Madagascar, and I can't beleive how incredibly beautiful it is. There are some places that are completely breathtaking.
And....for every breathtaking scenic moment, there is a scene of heartbreaking and ugly poverty. I think that sometimes...I'm de-sensitized to it all.
Any/every time I go shopping, I'm met by children in tattered clothing begging for money or candy. I try not to think about it.
At the market, there are limbless people begging for change. I try not to think about it.
I didn't write about the children from the second village of my canal tour - they literately got savage and I was nearly pushed down to the ground twice because I had candy. One child actually growled at the other children. All of this pushing and shoving....for a teeny tiny peice of candy. I try not to think about it.
I hand out money every now and again....but I'm not convinced this does any good...and try not to think about it...
I try not to think about it...because for now...I'm doing all that I can...or can think of for the meantime, anyway... (and will have some updates in the next few weeks on some volunteer work...)
On the LONG eight hour drive back from Tana....it definetly got to me. I don't often talk about the negative things about this job - apart from the adjustment to expatriate life, but....the poverty here is extreme and disgusting....and isn't going anywhere in my lifetime.
Last December, Obama determined that Madagascar wasn't living up to the U.S. requirements for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (and I agree with his opinion. I haven't discussed the political issues in this country....and maybe I should start. But for this post - put consicely as possible - It's a complete gong show), so MG is now cut off from financial aid from the United States. Canada has also followed suit.
So now an impoverished, underdeveloped country, living in a political mess - is going receiving less funding.
Bring on more poverty, more crime, and who knows what with the political situation. A few years ago, I would have completely supported this decision. Why should first world countries continue to share their weath to other countries that won't have a legitimate government in place concerned with the welfare and protection of their residents (to begin with...)? But now I see and live and work with these residents. So it's a little hard to support USA/Canada's decisions.I sit in my air conditionned home or hotel room....blogging about all my experiences - how fortunate I am to see this, or do that, or be here, or fly here, etc... I write about my ups and my downs and times where I feel like I'm losing (or have lost) my mind...
And as I'm typing, there are people - less than a kilometer away - struggling every day for the basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing. It seems....almost cruel that I am so fortunate but live in a country where most residents will never have a fraction of what I do. I'm not refering to material possessions - I mean access to health and dental care, electricity, clean water; knowing when my next meal is; never worrying if my house will make it through another rainy season.....
I can do my best to continue to give back, something little here, or there..., I can/will get more involved in charities - but I'm still left feeling...helpless. And...guilty that I have so much and they have so little.
My guilt is wasted energy - it won't fix anything, but it's next to impossible not to feel sometimes.
(and...just for the record. I'm okay and not crying as I type this or anything. I just had a lot of time this weekend to .... think... about things)
(and I swear these pictures I keep talking about will be up soon....)