From my western perspective, the world is not such a big place. You can travel anywhere in a matter of hours, then get instant communications with loved ones half way around the world. Time and space on the globe get compressed. News travels fast, but not all of us are on the same page.
I recently flew 10,000 miles to spend a couple of weeks in the Sub-Saharan Africa wilderness of South Sudan. It was my first opportunity to see life across the Atlantic Ocean. There were no flat screens, flush toilets, or books, which are pillars of life back home. Nevertheless, at the compound at which we stayed, we had niceties, such as electricity and filtered water. Yes, I managed well without air conditioning, thank you.
Because of the video production I was doing, I brought equipment with me. It wasn’t lost on me or the Dinka tribespeople with whom we resided that I came from the land of plenty. In typical western excess, I had seven cameras at my disposal. All of us on our team had phones.
Here in the remote savannah, legions lack the simplest things: water, electricity, books. Life is simpler and slower, which made it kind of attractive to this visitor. People are welcoming, they smile, they’re joyous. Relationships are the key here. People want to know about you and your family, not your status or checkbook balance. There’s something to be said for simplicity.
Students at the Hope and Resurrection Secondary School in Atiaba are determined in their studies. They want to learn. They’ll walk 90 minutes or more each way to get to school. But when they go home, there are no lights, desks or computers. They manage as best they can, in between chores, with lanterns and endurance. Tomorrow brings another day and a step closer to a trained mind. The challenges are bigger. Existence is on the line.
In the middle of this place, remote and beautiful, the world is bigger.