Saturday, May 12, 2007


Sitting on a beach at Koh Samui 5 years ago I saw a man running across the white sand from one end of the beach to the other. He carried two baskets connected by a bamboo pole on his shoulders. He wore a conical hat, no sandals, shorts and a white shirt. He had food. I chased after him and managed to stop him in time. He comes over to where Troy and I sat and opened up his portable stove. He had grilled chicken, catfish with chili and my very favourite, Som tam. As usual, I asked for the papaya salad, spicy hot. He made it in front of my eyes: shredded papaya, some sauces, chili, lime and tiny dried shrimp. I sat intently and watched. While he was mixing the concoction in a mortar, I reached over and tried some, it was absolutely delicious. It only cost me 30 baht. Emboldened I asked, how much for the catfish?


"What, do you mean 30 baht?"


Then curious, I asked how much for the grilled chicken.


I wondered how it is that a salad costs the same as catfish and more unbelievably, the same as grilled chicken, and yet, there it was.

Rwanda is not so different from Canada. There are people who smile, some who take advantage and even those who cheat. The house is the same, the needs are the same, the demands...well perhaps more in the west. I am encouraged as I visit the country, there is no difference. The patients are the same, the surgeon's demands the same, the same postoperative concerns and the same look of sadness that persists near those who lay sick and possibly dying. The only difference, imperceptibly so, is the thin air of an unspoken but publically known knowledge - the Genocide. It infiltrates their thoughts, their dreams, their fears and their hopes. We went to the Rwanda Genocide Memorial today and I am struck by something presented there. At the start it is written:

"This is about our past and our futures;
our nightmares and dreams;
our fears and our hope;"

There is so much sadness, so much underlying conflict and a dense humility regarding the past and even with this, great hope for the future.

Be it Asia or Canada and yes, even Africa, it is all "Same-same".

1 comment:

Stephan said...

I thought it was Same Same but Different??