Day 36 – Reasoned reflections

Posted 30 June 2010 | Journal   

I couldn’t find the willpower to get out of bed this morning. So I didn’t.

Later, on TV, I watched an elderly disabled woman use only her arms to manoeuvre herself from her bed into her wheelchair. It took numerous attempts and an unquestionable amount of strength. I wonder how many times she’s woken up and thought to herself ‘I can’t be bothered anymore.’ Feeling the cold, she looks up at the tin roof of her shack. No electricity. No running water. No toilet. They take up to two weeks to empty the bucket. “I have to pay someone to take me to town. When I don’t have enough money, they just leave me somewhere and a stranger will eventually take me home.”

I have been questioning my presence here in South Africa’s ‘sticks’, amongst other things in my life. Many of us have discussed the issue amongst ourselves, and yesterday’s speech from the supervisor suggested that this is indeed a system that we are a part of. Beyond the story, however, what exactly is it that I’m doing here?

I just finished watching “Sometimes in April”, a film about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda which cost the lives of at least 800,000 people. This month last year, I was in Bosnia, a country which also suffered from genocide. The Srebrenica massacre cost the lives of at least 8,000 people. We took part in the burial of the 534 more people found that year, and they continue to find more each year. “History repeats itself and blood is always spilled…”

I cast my mind back 9 years ago and find myself in Iraq. The memory of the al-Amiriya bomb shelter will stay with me forever. A search reveals a video which brings the entire scene rushing back. It’s amazing how accurate scarring memories can be. “4:30 AM: 408 women and children were hiding from the war, when a US bunker buster bomb smashes through the roof. Moments later a “smart” phosphor bomb was guided through the hole in the roof, and burned them all to death. The people in the basement were boiled to death when the water storage tank exploded from the heat. The imprints of their bodies are still on the wall.”

What is the relevance of these stories?

We all have to make decisions which will shape our outlook on life and the way we live. I often reflect on how little anyone would be affected if I were to not return to the UK. I wonder, beyond material possessions, what my life consists of. I set out on this journey to learn about myself, and to learn how I can best channel my abilities into making a change in the world – however big or small. I pray that God grants me the ability do so.

1 Comment

  1. Posted by Me on 01 July 10 at 10:15pm

    Hey, London is already ridiculously lonelier with you gone for the last 6/7 weeks or so – don’t be disappearing forever now, or else who else could I randomly hang out with?