Monday, July 5, 2010

The myth of movement

So, basically I was inspired by a couple of the students on this last Uganda trip to start blogging again. And, it's 4 am in Dubai and I have nothing else to do, so here goes. For those of you who will read this (what's up family?!) I take no responsibility for ridiculousness communicated in the next paragraph or so... I'm tired and slightly loopy.

This trip, overall, was amazing. The Uganda trip was incredible, we built a soccer field for the kids to play on (well, we finished what we could of it... turns out turning a marsh into a field is tougher than advertised), I flew down to South Africa, and basically bummed around for a bit. What was interesting about the trip, though, was the fact that this was so much more of an information overload than I expected.

When I was in South Africa I had the chance to check out the Museum Africa and the Apartheid Museum. More than other trips I was instantlty presented with the fact that I still really don't know anything. The myth of becoming "well traveled" is that once you do, you start to "get it." While I think that experience overseas is pretty much invaluable for having a well rounded perspective on how the world works, I do think there is a subtle danger that can start to creep in the more you do it. You become the traveler, the worldly wise, the rambler (sorry Kenny Rogers, I was rolling). You think that you understand things more than others do. But, the simple fact of the matter is, that even if you have a slightly better grip on things than your less traveled neighbor, you still don't really know enough to say you know anything.

In the apartheid museum, seeing such an intense and disturbing policy presented by those who lived through it made me realize that my understanding of that part of history was much more static than I wanted to admit. One part in particular hit me... as you transition from one hall to another there is a room with a countless number of nooses hanging from the ceiling to represent those who were executed during the apartheid regime. To bring you even further into the experience, the next room reconstructs the solitary confinement chambers that prisoners were forced to stay in. This one-two punch is probably one of the most impacting things I've experienced in the last year and it was a strong reminder that I've got a lot to learn about what has happened in the world and what continues to happen.

Anyway, South Africa was amazing, and it's still swirling around in my head. I honestly don't know what to make of it. Just lots to think about.

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