Teller of tales
Last night, in a room swollen with people, I sat in complete darkness. Listening to them talk, it struck me how different is this culture. Certainly—in part—because of the poverty. But also because of the uniqueness of the people. As darkness overtook light, the people seated across the room simply faded from sight. Unencumbered, discussions continued—even as conversation partners disappeared.
There is simply a different reality here. It is what life would be like without stores – without brooms and packaged food and lumber and hardware and pharmacies. It’s living off the land in the truest sense—with dirt-floor huts of bamboo and palm leaves. Its entire ‘neighborhoods’ free from the convenience of flush toilets. There is no central heating or cooling or as much as a fan. There is no electricity and no running water. Life here is like an eternal camping trip but without the luxury of clean, bottled water. Clothes are washed on rocks in the river. The whole of existence feels so far removed from home.
Meanwhile, outside, miles and miles from anywhere, the stars are brilliant here—as many as I’ve ever seen. The view of the Milky Way is brilliant too. You can see into the greatness of infinity. It is beautiful beyond words how this place enjoys the vision of the heavens without city lights, and the community of each other without television. In these regards, the beauty here is gleaming.
After nightfall, a fire was lit and a meal prepared for the group. The local people were very generous and their gifts of food provided a bountiful spread. However, on this night, I could not bring myself to eat. My mind would not let me be hungry. No food here ever goes to waste. Going to bed hungry, as many of these people do, is something I’ve never had to fear. I could not eat the food so generously provided—and so much more fittingly consumed—by the people of this village.