Friday, June 27, 2008

humbling reminder

after all of my whining about my lack of kitchen of late, i'm feeling a bit like a petulant, spoiled child. especially when i get an email from my sweet friend, the italian captain that i met on a flight from singapore to manila last month.

in the mail, he told me about many days spent at anchorage off borneo, while his bulk carrier awaited loading of coal to take to paradip. there were 30 local stevedores onboard during that time, as they would do the loading from barges that came. they slept on the deck and generally made themselves at home there. they opened three small makeshift indonesian restaurants on the deck--featuring rice, vegetables and fish. they just lived and slept where they could and capt. antonio characterized it as being like a cartoon.

he said that during the 18 days they were together, he got to know them a bit. he found out that they made only a few US$ a day. they were so poor, they had no shoes and actually had to load coal without any shoes! to fill the time between barges, they had a makeshift soccer ball made of rags and played many soccer matches on the hatches of the closed holds, also staging indonesia vs. italy against the ships' crew. the italians, of course, won, according to capt. antonio.

he said they were very funny and laughing and happy, despite having nothing. it's this that makes me realize that i'm a bit spoiled about my lack of kitchen. i'll try to keep this in mind and complain less and try to appreciate more the abundance i have in my life. i'll try to send my case of affluenza into remission.

2 comments:

Barb said...

Julie, You were reminded as I have been numerous times since my trip to Ethiopia just how fortunate I am.

It can be a humbling experience can it not? B

TheElementary said...

It's good to get a reminder now and then. It makes our own lives go a little bit easier, I feel, not always thinking that other people have it better.