As I type from the office in Kinshasa this morning, I´ve been reflecting on the past few days spent in Bas Congo. I´m a pretty adaptable person, which is perhaps one of the reasons I adore traveling so much, and yet sometimes by its very nature that works against me. We sat around the campfire in the jungle just two nights ago, amazed by the intensity and the vast expanse of sky and stars above us. I felt so at home in that situation, so comfortable in it; then it dawns upon me... I´m in the middle of the Congolese jungle! Not something that I can say everyday.
It´s been an incredible experience so far; yet one fraught with personal tensions. I find myself looking around at some of the sights and feeling so superior; feeling like I know better, that the farmers should grow two fields instead of one, have two cows instead of one, etc. I´m having my own perceptions challenged again as to how much we in the west impose consumerism and greed upon the African nations. Is bigger always better?
One of the other things I´m finding is that this trip is a lesson in learning to ask the right questions. Often we find ourselves asking the same question 3 or 4 times, with slightly different phrasing, to get the answer to the question we really wanted to ask. A part of that is issues with translation, but I also wonder if it is somehow indicitave of the way in which we ´waste´words. We don´t spend much time ensuring that our words convey meaning; we speak without thinking. How much trouble has our carelessness with words got us into at school, at work, etc?
Perhaps the real question is, how much is enough?