Sometimes life grabs you by the lapels and gives you a good shaking. That’s what’s happened to us the last couple days.
We took two flights and drove more than three hours to get to a great resort called the Isalo Rock Lodge. It’s pretty damn fancy for this neck of the woods. Or any neck of the woods, for that matter.
We have a very contemporary room with polished concrete floors, floor to ceiling sliding doors than open onto a stunning view of the Isalo canyon. We dine in a restaurant overlooking that same view. We have foot and neck massages scheduled for this afternoon. In other words, this place could easily be in Palm Springs or Sedona.
Yet it sits at the end of a road that passes through heartbreaking poverty. Poverty you cannot imagine unless you’ve seen it with your own eyes.
Hell, we watch the Travel Channel all the time and they never show us grinding poverty like this.
So do us a favor. Look at the photos below and be grateful — very grateful — for where you live and when you live, because you are among the wealthiest, most privileged people who have ever walked this earth.
If the shacks above and below are out of the ordinary, it’s only because they are far nicer than so many of the mud huts out here.
You see many women carrying bundles of sticks or twigs or branches or whatever you’d like to call them. I’ve googled and googled and can’t find any info that tells me if they are harvested crops or kindling for fires or something completely different.
Everyone makes bricks. I read that the soil in rice paddies is perfect for making bricks, so as soon as rice season ends, the brickmakers begin their labors. Not only do you see adults transporting bricks on their heads, but little boys have toy trucks designed to carry one brick. So you see them walking down the street towing their toy trucks with one brick payloads.
This is Ilakaka, the town that had 40 residents before sapphires were discovered. It looks far more prosperous from a distance.
Most Americans wouldn’t have a tool shed or a chicken coop in a condition as poor as many of the homes.
Call me stupid. I guess I just didn’t realize that there are still people using cattle drawn carts for transportation.