While we're used to living here in many ways I still frequently have moments where something clicks and reminds me of just how different my perspective is than that of the people from this area.
A couple of nights ago we were getting ready to go have dinner with some of our foreign co-workers. I walked to a little shop nearby and plunked down the cash for a couple of 2 liter bottles of sodas/fizzy. While it's something we don't purchase often here just for ourselves, I thought it was a perfectly reasonable contribution towards the nice dinner that was about to be provided for us by our friends. After all there were five of us coming from our house (we have a young Kiwi guy living with us). The drinks cost $1.09 US each.
I turned around to walk home with a bottle dangling from each hand. As I passed people living in our area I suddenly wished I had brought a bag to bring my purchase home in because I realized that what I was carrying could come across as extravagant. For many of my neighbors what I had just casually spent would be a good wage for a day's work........
Earlier today Rachel and I were walking home from the Metro and saw a little 1/2 naked boy toddling around and trying to whack people who came past with a stick. It looked so cute and harmless and reminded me of my boys playing 'pirates' when they were younger. I smiled at the ladies standing there and told them how cute he was in their language.
As we arrived home I was still thinking about that little boy and my perspective changed. I realized that he probably wasn't sword fighting and that the motions he was using weren't of that kind. He probably was mimicking things he had seen in his home, someone giving someone else a beating. It happens a lot.
Then I remembered last night walking home from the bazaar and seeing a woman who used to work at FS. She was given a couple of extra months to try to complete her 3 months training program but finally quit after not showing up on time, etc. She's one of the minority who have expressed interest in freedom but are so emotionally trapped that freedom seemed too hard. She went back into the trade. She has a little boy who used to come to the nursery while she worked. The last I heard of him, however, his mother has basically abandoned him to live with a group of kids who scavenge at a nearby dump for survival.
At least the little boy who was whacking people had a well fed tummy, a place to sleep at night, and someone to look after him.
Not a good one, but perspective.