Sunday, April 11, 2010

Indonesia - April 11, 2010

On the curving, dusty roads

we drove through the plantations

where the pickers balanced on the hot hillsides..

no poor man,

with a brown face and an empty sack,

has ever picked his way out of.

A the inn we stepped from the car

to the garden, where tea

was brought to us scalding in white cups from the fire.

Don't ask if it was the fire of honey

or the fire of death, don't ask

if were determined to live, at last,

with merciful hearts. We sat

amongst the unforgettable flowers.

We let the white cups cool before

we raised them to our lips.

I have lived this journey of Mary's. I have had brown hands serve me cafe con leche - beans picked by scorched hands, cows milked by a man earning $2 a day, and my needs served in white cups from a mother of four who lost two children as infants to treatable diseases. In such incongruency, hearts open up and ask, why me? Why aren't the tables reversed where I am serving others from my long labor of facing little choice on how to nourish myself and my family? Perhaps these questions are too hot to answer and my privileged life style cannot take in the heat of these questions, and still stay sane in my own situation. These people - the workers, pickers, and servants of the world are unforgettable flowers of beauty. Let their beauty help me recommit my life as a picker. By anguishing and picking choices I can raise others' hands to my lips to kiss and perhaps help others raise themselves out of the ashes of fires serving me, the inheritor of neocolonialist fires that ravaged the world. I bow down and kiss the earth, now, in prayer for this to be so.

Where do you see economic disparity in your life and what choices do you make based on this reality?

1 comment:

  1. I live in an integrated neighborhood. Historically the blacks were grouped on railroad avenue and back from the railroad five or six blocks except at the East end which was farther from town and the railroad station which employed most of them. About thirty years ago a developer built small cement block houses for three streets south of eastern railroad avenue that had not been developed. Blacks who had ambition and worked hard or got college degrees or associate degrees bought these small modern houses. More recently, perhaps ten years ago to the present, builders one by one bought the remaining lots and built houses. These are mostly occupied by whites. Both races hold jobs from UF faculty, life insurance salesman, teachers, nurses, and three police officers. These are not dumb people, but some cannot afford computers. Now this is a technological era. The school teachers have learned and expect their students to produce projects done with research and writing on the computer. Typically the students are given two periods in the computer lab to do this. I, like them, would have only found and viewed two or three sources. Two of those were probably not fitting to the topic after all. The second period that is to be used to write and type it, doesn't leave time for rereading, editing, and all of those things expected For more time the school suggests the public library. Ours has five computers. If ONE teacher with 100 students assigns a three week project and half of them need to use the get the idea. They are also given the option of coming in a half hour earlier and using the school's computers. The bus doesn't make an extra run. If all teachers in Florida haven't left, we appear to be headed toward a division of the haves and the have nots. This appears to be also a racial division. The whites with access to a computer at home earn A's and B's and the blacks without a computer at home can maybe get a C.

    My small dent into the problem is that I offer the use of my computer for any school project for whatever amount of time it takes. Four students have taken me up on it, and a new set of six now know and say they will remember that with the next assignment.