it has been terribly cold the last few days or so. probably since thursday. my fingers and toes are like frozen clumps somehow still attached to the body. when the cold first settled in, linxy thought that the air-conditioning was on, thus the cold or something. however, that was not the case, my windows was wide open, resulting in the "air conditioning" temperature that seems beyond linxy. as usual, Canberra has decided to skip autumn or the normal cooling down of summer, to jump straight into winter, i hope. for the erratic weather might just make me very sick again.
in the past few hours, i been looking for news, articles, events that might be related to or on the genocide in sudan, frank abagnale jr's adventures as well as a few other not so notable articles. there were a few sites that caught my eyes, and definitely a few articles which i deem as fairly moving writings and lessons for all of us. These "journeys" as i shall call it, are ones that few will actually come to pass, unless you chose that path or unless the vocations of your choice suddenly decide that you should venture on them. there are many other ways to stumble onto such journeys of course, but then again, such luck are few and far between, for who would like to suffer, watch suffering or be a part of it?
a few years ago, in 1999, i volunteered and was chosen to go on a volunteer trip to Myanmar, or Burma, for whoever thinks that this or that name is unsuitable. it was an eye opening trip, but more because i actually learned from it than gave, in my opinion. before the trip, i was fairly much a pompous idiot. well not really, but close. because i belive i couldn't possibly learn from these people i am about to give my time to, other than to see their way of life and probably snob at it, for i know a little about their showering habits, which my grandparents back then still live with. which meant, of course, that i experimented with such showering habits.
but honestly, i wasn't prepared for what i was about to see. or learn.
the group of people were divided into 2. we were going there to "build a school", and various other stuff that i honestly forgot. it was meant to be out in the village. we all paid for the flights and whatever other expenses that might be incurred, including food and so on. we were to live in tents near the village so we dont have to impose on them, and the story goes on.
however, within the first week of the first group (i was in the 2nd group) they experienced some problems with the government. to go to the villages to do any form of work, or even as a visit far as i understood, we needed a pass, a visa, by the permission of the local military government. though we were supposedly promised/given a pass (it was too long ago, bear with me while i try and get through the details), the government revoked it/didn't wana give it to us. so for the first week or so, the first group couldnt go anywhere, coz they were not allowed to, couldn't do anything and eventually, out of boredom and a want to do something for the locals, the fixed the local temple for them.
when permission was finally granted, it was not for the location we seeked. but rather in a small town on the outskirts of Yangon. there they started building a local community center for the people who stayed there. it was to be used partially as a school in the day and a community center at night. the first group consulted a local architect, mason and so on, and for the next 4-6 weeks that both groups stayed, it was pretty much the same people we consulted. they also helped us in the building, because, due to the government being terribly bitchy towards us, the 2nd lot of us got stranded in the house for a few hours of the first day too. then we were told to vacate, stay in the local ymca yangon and basically keep as little contact with the locals as possible.
so, what did i learn? on the physical note of it, i actually learnt how to play with cement, create concrete and stuff with some basic notes on how to do it, the right mix, putting up walls with very very old techniques of using the string and this thing to keep the string straight so that my poor wall will not curve and hollow out and then collapse in the near future.
i learnt a little bit of burmese. not alot mind u, and mostly forgotten now from the lack of use, but while it lasted, it was a joy to try and talk to the burmese people and trying to understand it when they rattle back at u, faster, more efficient, and definitely better, thus my lack of comprehending it at times.
but on the emotional side, it was a far more bigger journey that i took. these people had close to nothing, living on an edge of poverty. they live in houses on stilts, barely safe, rackety and smelly. their toilets are outside of the house, with this thin bamboo pole that u run on to reach the toilet, which is really a hole between the planks and a basket far below to collect the daily human excretion. and yet these people offered us their homes, their food, to come in and visit, rest, eat, shower even if we have to. and the joy they took to provide what little they have. they shared with us things that were unique to them, like their cosmetics (this bark thing that they grind and used as paste that's supposedly good for the skin). and these people had nothing, and still they give, they smile, they laugh.
we in all our technological glory, our concrete jungles, can barely manifest a twinkle in our eyes in our normal lucky days, and they in all the poverty that they live in, has so much more that they find joy in. how beautiful is that? with what little they have, they give and give, and yet we with all our riches, couldn't even give our time to our families.
this article that i picked from bbc also show from another closer angle, from the words of a nurse working in sudan under an aid agency, just before she left.
i wanted to quote from her but, all of it was just too beautiful, so go have a look yourself.
another one you guys should look at is the news on what is happening with U.N, the U.S and the "conclusions" if u can call it that, also from BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4227835.stm i am not sure about how u guys feel about this article, so i will reserve my comments atm, other to say that, there seems something so wrong with their "arguments."
on another note, there's this new interesting website that i stumbled upon while looking for the real life story of frank abagnale jr, the person that leonardo di caprio was acting out as in "catch me if you can." http://www.crimelibrary.com/ you can view it there. why did i go hunting for the true story behind the movie anyways? well, for one i am sure no one can document an entire say... 5 - 6 years into a 2 hours movie. for another, it astounded me how people could be fooled for 5 - 6 years, and unable to find this person for as long as that. his story is in there, i believe it's under hoax and scams. regardless, it is a great story in it's right, real life, yet a story still. how, you can not judge a person by his looks and mannerisms, for all these can be imitated.
long post this is hrhr... well, i am done for now :D ty for reading :P