The reason for my silence for such a long time is simple. I have been in the land of no Internet. Kind of nice. Kind of isolated. I did not miss email much, but I did miss interacting with all of you in my blog-world.
I was in Burma and spent time with the Kachin. The Kachin are a strong, proud, honest, courageous and wonderful people whose lives have been torn apart by a brutal war that has lasted for more than two years now. Two years of constant attacks by the Burma Army. Two years of oppression and suffering. Two years of freedom completely lost.
I love the Kachin people, and would like nothing more than to see them free to enjoy their beautiful land.
In the days to come I think I want to share with you some of the stories I heard, and what I observed. I learned a lot from the Kachin. I did for example learn to be more content with what I have.
I would ask them: “So what can we do to help you?” They were living in the most miserable camps, with nothing but thin and leaky bamboo huts to sleep in. It was rainy and cold, and they did not have anything waterproof. They ate the same old rice every day, and the rations they received where nowhere close to what they really wanted to eat. They children were sick. Their toilets stank. It was not a very good life. And, yet, when I asked, they replied: “We are actually doing fine. We don’t need anything right now. We have food, shelter and medicine. What else would we need?”
“What else would we need?” they asked while living in one of the poorest places I have ever seen. “We have everything.”
What a stark contrast it was to the life I observe (and live) here. We have so much stuff we have a hard time finding place for it. We have so much food we run the risk of dying from fat. We have such nice houses and clothes and cars. But do we stop whining? Oh, no. Unlike the Kachin refugees, we make sure everybody knows when we have needs and wants. And it seems like the more we have, the less content we get.
It is a strange thing.
I learned from the Kachin to be grateful today. To be grateful for what I have. To practice being content in all circumstances. I may not succeed, and if I don’t, I know where to find the Kachin who can help me.