Saturday, April 18, 2009
written by Luke White...(adbusters magazine)
On a recent trip to Central America, I was hugely impacted by Guatemala City's 40-acre trash dump. I wasn't shocked by the vultures, the stench or the hundreds of people crawling in and around it like ants.
What got me were the infections.
The first infection I saw was on a withered old Mayan woman, her sightless eyes pleading for any charity I might spare. She wasn't blind in the traditional sense; her right eye had grown into a swollen black gob of puss that pushed her nose across her face and squeezed the vision from her left eye.
After that I began to see them everywhere.
The acrid air kisses every nick and scratch with its poisoned lips. The wounds fester, swell and throb red around the edges. They leak and spit puss, the infection traveling inwards, deep into the bloodstream where it squeezes the organs. Ankles swell until lymph nodes pop and legs shrivel into crippled stems.
If the vultures could, they would sing.
People working in the dump like to get right next to the dump trucks, where civilization's freshly unloaded burden sinks and pops beneath their feet. They work with bare hands, wearing discorded sneakers and blasting found radios. They hack and cough as lungs gargle with the gaping holes and scars of irreparable abuse. Old women set up ragged beach chairs amidst the stinking mess. They sit back and survey their horrid world, laughing out loud through empty gums.
Dear beautiful stranger,
There is a weight that builds in my stomach when I hear about the life you lead. I can't help but to feel sorry, sad, and helpless towards your situation. There are so many places I want you to see, people I want you to meet, and restaurants I want you to dine in. I wish that I could take all of your clothes and put them in our washer and dryer. I want to give you gift cards to a spa, a body store, or to Target so you can see who you can truly be. I want to take you to a dentist and have him work on your mouth so that you have bright white teeth again. I want to give you everything that is available to me here in the US of A.
Who am I kidding, what I crave for you is so much deeper than clean 'looking' things, lots of stuff made by people I don't know, and facebook. I want you to be happy. I want you to be pain-free. I want you to know that God loves you. I want you to know that I also understand the pain you feel, the sickness you endure, and the wounds you develop. The difference is that my pain, my sickness, and my wounds come from the inside. They come from a long storm of selfishness that breeds from uncountable amounts of possession, success, and outward beauty.
I am jealous of your smile.
I am curious of your external struggle to survive.
I am envious of your relationships with the people you love and live with.
Did you know that your smile is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen?
Stay strong stranger,