We grew prize-winning roses in our backyard when I was a child. I pored salt down holes in the rock garden to kill the weeds. And then the gardener did the rest.
I was back in Virginia this weekend. I forget how riveting the countryside is. I got to the horse country during photographer’s light, and was stunned by how the hills and long white fences looked. The huge bales of hay stood stark against the brown stubble field. The cattle and horses grazed in large groups, unaware of my passing. Their skins glistened and their girth was a testament to good food. It truly was the definition of bucolic.
As I drove along, though, I couldn’t help but think of the cattle I see more often. These are the emaciated cattle of the Mara and of the roads that bump along the trip from Nairobi to Kisumu and Nambale. There I see a young Masai walking with a stick whipping the cattle to move along to greener pastures. A thin boy hopes to find somewhere that might nourish his flock. (I never see horses, though Zebra’s dot the side of the road.) The cattle look exhausted, and the earth is dry with dust twirling up in dust devils. How different these two worlds are.
Since the G20 conference was just held and twitter was atwit with people talking about poverty and hunger, I could not help to notice the contrast. And I wonder about all the news and all the talk from celebrities about the need to feed the hungry. How will we ever change the climate enough that Kenya gets enough rain when it needs it? And if we could change the way the people farm will it not also kill off their culture?
I read the articles from Millennium and Gates, but I feel saddened more than hopeful. They talk about green planet, saving the environment, and smarter planting to help the famine. I’m glad people realize that children need to be fed, that children are starving, it’s just that the folks who are ruining the environment aren’t really interested in giving up their lifestyle so a child can be fed.
And so in the end, I feel like Charlie Brown in class listening to the teacher going, “wah wah wah wah wah”. Any ideas out there?