So much eye opening perspective gained from immersing in “Asia.” Indonesia, Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Was a real shock to slowly shed the embedded Western teachings of what is “Asia”, as portrayed in film and myth. And the possibility that “‘Asia”, like “Africa”, could be a simple monolithic concept.
Alexander often remarks as we walk out at night, takes a deep inhale and says with a sly knowing smile, “Ahhh…I love the smell of Bangkok at night! It’s not Yangon or Hanoi or Xi’an…but distinctly Bangkok.”
After 8 months we are now moving on from Asia, and arriving in Africa for 3 months. This means, in horse racing parlance, the horses are rounding the far turn and headed for home. Just typing that makes me tear a bit, reminded of how close we have become as a family on a quest.
Today we arrive on the African Continent (No, Africa is also not a country), it’s a diverse landscape made up of over 50 counties, hundreds and hundreds of tribes, and a like amount of languages. It is overwhelming to think of the sheer vastness in both landmass (Mercator maps, ugh) and ponder the origin of original humans and how homo sapien life began here.
We have been so fortunate to previously visit African countries as safari guest or for business projects, but to come purely as observer is a real treat. Today I luckily recieved a timely post from a friend met years ago in Zambia on a business visit. Just before our plane left HK, I got to peer in on the unvarnished observations of my buddy Erik Bashi Fzxemi Mulenga, “the Mule”, and his African mates. Amongst his African buddies on FB, they were lamenting the fact that there is a statue of Doctor Livingstone at the Zambia/Zimbabawe border touting his “discovery” of the mighty Victoria Falls. And how there’s no statue for the local tribes people who clearly led him there, or the millions of “discoverers” for millennia before him.”
But the comments:
“He discovered it for his friends and family back in England and not for Tonga, African people who were living there and called it mosi o tunya. And we,today, take away the power of that name every time we call it V…”
“And if that’s not even enough, there’s a monument of David Livingstone alone & nothing has been erected for the people who guided him to the falls.”
“Every important event in history, had something to do with our white fellas…”
“What of the people who were staying there? Were they blind to notice the whole lot of the falls but only to wait for that guy to come and show them?”
“That time is now when Lumumba said “Africans will write their own history”…
And that which struck most:
“So sad, subliminally this is what makes us feel inferior.”
Time to adjust the compass, both physical and moral, once again.
One never knows when, or if, we will ever be lucky enough to return to these far off places. I am reminded again why we as a family do what we do, with wide eyes and open minds. Grateful. Humble. Inspired.
Buckle up…we’re going in Mav.