Posted by: Take Flight | March 13, 2011

Life without “More” Pressure

 

Part 7: En Route to Tanzania (Serengeti)

The Maasai jumped down from the roof of the Land cruiser as we neared their village. They gathered their machetes, spears, bow and arrows as we do our briefcases or laptops in the morning. They then turned toward us, flashed us their broken tooth smiles, and waved.

I thought about how simple it must be for them in the mornings. With only one outfit to wear, there isn’t much time wasted. Not that I consider myself a fashion queen. My main wardrobe primarily consists of outdoor gear. Yet for most of us women, we do spend energy each day contemplating our closets, and likely much time scouring around malls or boutiques determined we need more. What would our lives be like if we didn’t have “more” pressure?

As we headed toward the Tanzania border we drove through massive mud holes, many filled with water, and again, Salum took us skillfully through them all. At times we walked alongside the truck for our exercise, often passing it up.

We stopped in one village for more fuel. Salum got out of the truck and knocked on a door. Two people came out and put a funnel in filling the truck up from a plastic container. Across the dirt street people sold everything from clothes to food in what resembled a large flea market. They shop or barter every day for their life provisions as there are no Costco’s, grocery stores, mini-malls, or gas stations in these areas. They buy according to their means; there is no waste. How many times do the vegetables wilt in our refrigerators or do the dairy products spoil? Do we really need cases of food at one time or 100 rolls of toilet paper? How did we become a society obsessed with needing “more”?

As we drove through the shanty towns, children ran along the sides of the road towards us. They stuck out their bellies and rubbed them gesturing as if they were eating a meal while pointing to their mouths. We handed them food out of the truck window, whatever we had, and they gathered around us devouring anything we shared. Later a child came over, reached in the truck window and touched my water bottle with his dirt stained hands. His cracked lips quivered as he asked in Swahili, “Bwana, Asante.” (Water, please).

I poured some of my water into a container for him and watched him lap every drop up. I felt my eyes tear up as I imagined what it must feel like to live with an empty stomach and a parched throat.

Soon afterward Salum pulled our truck off the road for our daily picnic.  We feasted upon a salad of tomatoes, rice, chicken, avocados, raisins, and mayonnaise dressing with slices of fresh pineapple and feta cheese as side dishes. With each bite I prayed silently that others who are hungry can also be well-nourished. I never enjoyed a meal as much as this relishing every morsel. I learned to appreciate what I have in every moment desiring a life without “more” pressure. What could that look like for you?

 

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