Fieldset
The illusion of distance

In our small plane there is a man and his son from Kasongomwana. The boy is being medically evacuated to Lubumbashi in the hope that we can save his knee, because he is only sixteen and if we do not do something he will not walk again on two feet, but we cannot help him in Kilwa.

In our small plane there is a man and his son from Kasongomwana. The boy is being medically evacuated to Lubumbashi in the hope that we can save his knee, because he is only sixteen and if we do not do something he will not walk again on two feet, but we cannot help him in Kilwa. The man cannot believe that we are in the plane, in the air, and yet we are not moving, and yet we are moving so far and so fast. He cannot believe that we will get to Lubumbashi in one hour, when it takes more than one week on a bicycle from Kasongomwana. He cannot believe how small everything is or how beautiful. It is funny that I have been in many planes, and yet I still feel the same way as this man…that the world below me is so small and so beautiful…that I am moving so far and so fast and yet not at all...

The illusion of distance…of space between people and places…it is often difficult for me to grasp as I gaze out of the window at the world below, with a vastness that is seemingly beyond measure. Not long ago I was far from this man and this boy and Africa was a place in my dreams…perhaps even possibly some place I made-up…and now I am here and I sometimes have the impression that perhaps Canada is a place that I dreamt of sometime…But I know it is there, somewhere across the ocean, even when it feels impossibly far.

It has taken a long time to organize this transfer and I hope we are not too late. I hope that this boy will play football again in Kasongomwana, a small and beautiful place that I am sure he dreams of… I know that as I see more of the world from this tiny window and from the places that exist far below, it feels a little more measurable and I realize that the distances between people and places are not so great. I know this smile, the one on the face of this boy as he looks out the window and contemplates the same small and vast world below; and suddenly it all begins to feel a little more like home.