I haven't been the same since I got back. My heart aches. I ache. I feel immobilized and trapped. This isn't how I envisioned it.
When you ask me about my trip my insides get tight, I sigh, my head spins, faces flash through my mind, I re-enter that other world, and I am without words; I am straddling a line I cannot cut through. And I feel very alone.
Perhaps the biggest thing I got from Ghana:
I found something worthy of every single day of my life from here on out. Some people spend a lifetime looking for purpose and never find it. I've found something I would give my life for, and I can't do it.
I feel a slave to this world, this society, this government, these rules, this man-made stuff. Which is a contradiction itself: America is supposed to mean freedom, right? I have food, clean water, shelter, a warm bed. I have clothes and shoes and an education and all kinds of "opportunities" right outside my front door. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, excuse me if I do.. I'm really not, but bare with me here.
My priorities have just been jumbled, my desires are shifting, my perspective is being stretched to contain far more than America, and I am a bit confused, a bit messy, a bit.. well, not together. I would really like to be able to tell you about my trip, but even that word, "trip", makes me want to throw up.
THEY'RE PEOPLE! THEY HAVE SOULS! THEY FEEL! THEY THINK! THEY REASON! And my love for them is not something that is forced or out of pity or duty or self-righteousness. My heart is crushed, but I want you to know, they don't need our pity. They don't need our heroism. They need us to DO SOMETHING. All this money makes me sick. Every time I get a nice, neatly folded letter from Direct Loans I want to rip it up, fake my death, create a new identity, and flee the country with the money I do have rather than look at those gaping numbers and wither inside as I fight thoughts of just how many people that much money could feed, how many water filtration systems it could install, how much medicine it could buy. And I got a degree. A degree I could have easily gone without. It's sickening. It really is. I have so much stuff. I'm building myself a life that I don't need. If they were to come here I would be ashamed. Absolutely, utterly ashamed. I can just imagine their faces as they realize what we have and what it means as they try to process how it's possible that we live like this while they fight every day to live the way they do.
Alice. She's 53 years old but she looks at least 65. Late one night, after a day of carrying 10 gallon buckets of water on her head, killing and plucking chickens for dinner, scrubbing clothes clean with her hands, pounding yams, hauling bundles of wood and straw, she came and sat outside. She sunk into the bench, looked at the sky and said "I'm ready to go. I'm tired." She's 53 years old and ready for whatever awaits her on the otherside of this life. More than ready.
I sigh and mutter life, and I realize they're different worlds.. we can't feel bad for having what we have here, it's just different, that's all, la la la.. I've heard all that. I know that. Pain is pain. Hurt is hurt. Heartache is heartache. No matter what the circumstances or situations. I've always said that. And I realize our "problems" are very real as well. But.. I just.. I can't seem to get past this right now; this feeling of all the "unecessary", all the excess. It's not only enough, it's too much. We have too much. And it doesn't make sense that half the world hasn't even reached "enough".