Lucia has something to say

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Travel to Timbuktu

"The journey is my home." —Muriel Rukeyser
I'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

5 Comments:

Blogger Maggie said...

Now this is poetry! Beautiful post. I wish I were a little pen or pair of glasses that you carried in your purse and I could take those travels with you.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Susan as herself said...

I know if I ever went to these countries I would want to buy all these people's wares, and then I'd be out of money, and not have any way to carry everything home!!!

ARGHH.

11:03 AM  
Blogger meno said...

I saw Muriel Rukeyser many many years ago at the University of Washington. Her shortest poem was:
I'd rather be alive and be Muriel than be dead and be Ariel.

8:05 PM  
Blogger amusing said...

Making the world a sustainable place. Allowing people to live and create a life they want to live. I'd encourage everyone to try, whenever possible to shop the little stores near you (if you aren't traveling to Timbuktu). Keep the independent bookstores, boutique owners, entrepreneurial coffee houses, etc. alive. Shop at places that buy goods from these faraway artisans and craftspeople rather than mass-production factories in Singapore. It helps local communities thrive, and that helps you in the end.

11:47 AM  
Blogger bruce said...

Some pretty profound lessons there, and some wonderful insights into humanity. I'm intrigued to know what kind of work you do to be able to travel so much and meet so many people. In only a few lines of text, you paint such a wonderful picture.

9:18 PM  

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