Last night I sat and looked up at the moon and I listened to the wind making waves on the lake crash against the shore and I was sure for a moment that I was sitting by the ocean, which is exactly where I was last year on my birthday, looking up at the moon and out at the ocean. I thought about how much life changes and yet stays the same. I thought about how different my life would be if I had been born in the Congo instead of in Canada.
If I were a thirty-year old Congolese woman, I would know how to make manioc flour into foo-foo and to pluck a chicken to feed my family and I would be able to pick up a hot pot with my bare hands… I would be able to climb barefoot up a mountain with a unimaginably heavy basin of fish balanced on my head and a baby tied tightly on my back… The baby on my back might be one of the children I will not know the pain of loosing because he or she is strong enough to live past the age of five… he or she might be the one I can afford to send to school… I would be married hopefully for love, but definitely for survival… I might not know how to read or write…I would have lived through a war… My life would be different… I would be different… It is hard to imagine…And yet some part of me might be the same. I might laugh at the same little girl running through the yard with a bucket on her head and yelling at the top of her lungs…I might have the same feeling of awe every time I look up at the sky… and the same feeling of murderous rage toward the rooster that wakes me up every morning…I might still be me. I can’t know for sure, but I do know this : I am grateful for all the things that make us different and all the things that make us the same. I am grateful for the thirty years that have brought me to today, to this moment of my life. I am grateful for the beautiful, courageous women of the Congo who greet each new day with a smile that comes from the inside-out and from whom I am learning so much. Maybe I will learn how to make foo-foo…but I think I will skip the chicken-plucking :o) .