Travel to Timbuktu
"The journey is my home." —Muriel RukeyserI'm tossing out my image of Timbuktu. Whatever I think it will be, it will not be. A city of 70,000 is not the edge of the earth. I found out today that there are even internet cafes in Timbuktu, so all those travel bloggers have a place to go when they're on the edge.
I learn a lot when I'm traveling. I learn how much freedom a woman in the slums of Delhi has when she's educated to read the numbers on the buses. I learn how important it is to a weaver in Kenya to somehow make enough money to send her son to school. I learn from disabled jewelry makers that without this work, there is nothing, nothing for them. I learn that there are so many children orphaned in the world that I can barely comprehend it. I learn that AIDS is real, and that in Africa, every day, people are going to funerals. I learn that refugee camps can run out of rations. I learn what starvation looks like. And this is only a fraction, a very small sliver, of what I've learned.
I just got a friend's catalog (www.MarketPlaceIndia.com). On the back, she writes, "The Women Artisans are My Role Models." They're my role models too. She says,
"They want to experience new things, to explore a world of opportunities and feelings previously closed to them. And out of all this, they will continually create and re-create their lives."When I'm sitting on the floor with a basket maker or watching a weaver turn out magnificent silk cloth, when a woman in East Timor shows me how she uses natural dyes or a woman at an orphanage in Madagascar makes cards with pressed flowers, I am enriched. And I am reminded that...
"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." —George Bernard Shaw