Monday, December 29, 2008

I can't save Africa

In his book Beachcombing at Miramar, Richard Bode told this story. He was walking the beach after a particularly stormy night. The swells had washed hundreds of starfish onto the sand, where they were suffering a slow and suffocating death. A lone figure walked the beach, picking up random starfish and throwing them back into the water. Bode approached the man, and asked, 'Why are you doing this? You can't possibly save them all!' And the man bent down, picked up a pale yellow star, and replied ~ 'True. But I can make a difference for this one.'

And so it is in Africa.

A man approached me at our guest house. He was clean but clearly poor. 'My name is Martin. I am HIV positive and need to earn money for my medicine.' He asked if he could wash our car. I misunderstood. I thought he wanted to 'watch' all of the cars at the guest house, and I told him to talk to the owners. "Please." he said. "Please, anything you can do to help. Food, spare clothes, anything."

At that moment, I didn't have anything to give. I couldn't help him.

But fate gave me another chance. I encountered Martin again, that evening, as Perry and I walked home from dinner carrying my leftover tandoori chicken and lemon rice with us.

Martin had a nice meal that evening. And if I see him again, I will give him the boots I won't wear again, and an extra sweater, and I will pay him to 'wash' our car.

I can make a difference with that one.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bail Out Plan

We have determined that our travel costs have far exceeded our budget.

Therefore, we request a bail-out package from our benevolent and generous government, so we may proceed with our travels in the style to which we have become accustomed.

Just kidding. We can take care of ourselves.