I saw a dead body today. I've tried to not major on the more gruesome aspects of life here but this one has had me thinking all day. In coming here I was prepared to see the impact of deep urban poverty. I had seen the occasional corpse on the street when I was here 20 years ago. It's a very sad fact that people die of disease and starvation every day.
This particular body took me by surprise for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was because it was a young man who I don't think had been living on the streets. He had met some kind of violent end right there on the street (near the picture of the main road in my previous post). He was young and strong and 'shouldn't' have died. The other thing that upset me at first was the apparent nonchalance of the people around. There were a number of other young men standing around the body. Presumably they were there to keep traffic away until the authorities took the body but they were joking and laughing like nothing was unusual. Life is cheap here.
At first I was upset for the sake of the dead man but then I realized that the young men standing around have spent their whole lives with harsh realities like the one laying at their feet. Who could blame them for insulating themselves away from it? In six weeks we've already learned to turn a deaf ear to beggars holding babies and street children. We don't want to but there's no other option if you live here day after day. You have to choose your focus of compassion because there's just too much in your face each day.
I also thought about the belief system that has shaped people here. Adam's fallen a few times on steps, etc, and even though he hasn't been seriously hurt, people's reactions are to do a motion that's respectful to the g*ddess of the city, to ward off evil from themselves. Not only are people dealing with difficulties in humanity, they're living in fear of the higher powers that they believe in. Their lives are full of appeasement to avoid catastrophe themselves. What a burden to bear!
I am glad to serve the One who brings peace!