Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Sage in the Pick up

Falling victim to my inner most control freak, I stepped into a scraggly beat up pick-up, with an older, scraggly looking man behind the wheel. I'm usually a little picky on what I get into when I hitch alone, but at that moment, I let go of all control, said a little prayer like a good Batswana would, asked if he had been drinking, and on our way we were---I just didn't care, I was cold, tired, and I wanted to get home before it was really dark.

I was also in no mood for one of those moments that sprouts into full adventures and memories, I wuz just gonna close my eyes and hopefully open them in the safe haven of my village.  But as I have come to know many times, moments happen unexpectedly, and usually I can't even sleep thinking about them.

Opening the corner of my eye to be polite in answering a question the man asked, someone who I did not perceive as a worldly person, turned out to be a hidden intellectual, and completely captured my attention. A man who underneath his scraggly clothes, beard, and car, a man living in a continent notable for its under development, had every formulation of new paradigms of thought on all of Botswana's problems. He spouted out solutions on development, education, HIV, the lack of motivation in people here, poverty, democracy, pregnancy, and every regional problem you can muster up. When I questioned something, he thoughtfully analyzed it, and came up with the perfect answer. The more passionate about a subject he became, the more the car swerved---still, I didn't care!

This man, hunched over the wheel of his pick-up, was educated in Moscow, wrote a Thesis, has poured out his ideals in Washington D.C., and never worked a day in his life. He's gone through Botswana's schools, businesses, politicians, trying to volunteer to help make Botswana a better place. Hey---he should be a Peace Corps Volunteer!!!!! Yet, amidst the dusty roads, he has traveled without fear of thinking outside this society's norms, living off his ideas, and not caring how controversial they may be. In fact, he loves debate---I quickly fell in love with this man's head, and yes, he is very poor, but oh so rich!

And of course, safely home on this chilly night, snuggled with my hot water bottle in bed, I thought how this man exuded the soft radiance of a guru, something special emanated from his soulful eyes, and I wished the ride home had been just a tad bit longer!

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