I arrive, I silence my mind and my hosts open the door; a man, a dog and a ray of sunshine scattered across the floor. The squeaking of worn tyres against the Tarmac and concentration of movement within limited areas and almost complete desolation of others astounds me. The closure of roads and streets for reasons kept discreet is something I hadn’t experienced before; yet to the inhabitants of this land the day carries on, the situation is far from raw. Frequently stopping at military checkpoints is an activity that I couldn’t get used to; armed guards with twisted lips seemingly ready to shoot you. A land where war has visited so often that stories of death and misfortune have lost the striking effect it would have had in different cultures and social circles; desensitized. A place where beauty can be found growing out of the bullet holes that have been manifested by the ugliest parts of soulless gun-wielding walking corpses. It is a land of diversity and resilience.
Interactions and experiences at times prove to be intense enough for me to go into a psychological overdrive in trying to decipher what impact they’ve had on my worldly experience and in turn generate scrambled messages that need to be closely looked at. This land of red, green and white, with smears of tears and protruding eyes, generous hands and sunken smiles, innocence shown through the children’s presence and impermanence shown through celebrating life’s essence has given me one of those interactions and experiences.
“I did not become someone different that I did not want to be” – Gil Scott-Heron
I now further realize that “my” identity is as fluid as the ever evolving fertile hills that I stream through, my thoughts are as diverse as the inhabitants with whom I share a common tongue but a non-identical expressional vocabulary. My similarities to these lovely humans can be highlighted, yet I am an outsider in all but a few ways and I transform into this expected, and almost necessary, persona in order to manoeuvre through this country unnoticeably and with the lightest prints of my presence left behind.
These chaotically harmonious beautiful beings serve as a reminder that life in and of itself is a worthy cause for jubilation and every opportunity to do so should be seized and welcomed with hands cupped and a soul filled with gratitude and appreciation.