Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Fable

Unsuspecting people continue to send me this email, not realizing that they're complaining about something that helps makes life great:

Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6am. While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG). He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA).

After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA) he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA) he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY) filled it with gas (FROM SAUDI ARABIA) and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.

At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer (MADE IN MALAYSIA), Joe decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE!) and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in .. AMERICA....

For starters, if Joe can afford all that stuff he's better off than most. But let's look at the other extreme, which is 100% local self-sufficiency....please allow me to tell you about Joe's equivalent on the other side of the world:

Danjuma started the day early, waking to the sound of his NEIGHBOR'S rooster. While his NUMBER TWO WIFE was cooking the yams he had dug yesterday, he rolled off the pallet his OLDEST DAUGHTER had woven for him several years earlier. He stood and stretched inside the mud and straw hut he had built with his FATHER. Stepping into shoes made by his YOUNGEST SON, he reached for his new necklace, provided as a hand-me-down from a recently DECEASED UNCLE. Danjuma's favorite loincloth, fashioned by NUMBER ONE WIFE was the envy of the village, so he saw no need to change into another.

Stepping out of the hut, Danjuma picked up his GRANDFATHER'S writing stick and began scratching some lines in the dirt. These lines represented how many yams he needed to dig that day before he could purchase another goat from a VILLAGE ELDER. Grabbing two handfuls of beans and spices, he strolled to a NEIGHBOR'S hut to have his hoe sharpened. The neighbor only took half of the beans and none of the spices, asking DANJUMA to come by later to help repair the neighbor's roof.

Returning to his own hut, Danjuma began eating breakfast with his family. He often worried about his sickly OLDEST SON who had made the hat Danjuma wore to the fields. This son might might lose his sight to River Blindness despite the ointments provided by the VILLAGE PRIEST.

Saying goodbye to his family, Danjuma began walking down the same road that his FATHER, GRANDFATHER, and their GRANDFATHERS had all walked. He thought of his friend Danladi, who once left the village, and returned years later talking of clocks and cars and calculators and computers. Even if such things existed, Danjuma thought, who in the VILLAGE would have time to make them? The men of the VILLAGE were too proud of their self-sufficiency to ever trade with STRANGERS.


Anonymous said...

Zbeth says:
You outdo Aesop as a story teller. Right on as we old folks say!!!

sandersonmom said...

Ok, you need to rent the dvd "God Grew Tired of Us". It's a remarkable story of the Lost Boys of Sudan that fled their country while it was in war. Traveled 1,000's of miles across the country to settle in a refugee camp for years and years to only be sent to live and survive in America. Most of them not even using electricity until they came to America. It's groundbreaking, gripping and had me laughing and crying.
There are so many struggles in every country. You made a very good point in your story.
At some point in every person's life, someone else's life seems so much harder. And makes you grateful for the things you have and the things you do not have.
The thing that has me the most worried is that we as American people take for granted so much of the stuff that we have.
But like most spoiled children, we always have to complain of what we don't have or what we want.
Thanks for inspiring thought for all of us spoiled children.