Living in the world

Many people in the world face circumstances that are truly difficult, for many different reasons.

I was going to write about heirloom potatoes this afternoon for my daily blog post, but reading a friend's FB post about visiting the traveling exhibit, Forced From Home, an interactive exhibition about the global refugee crisis, changed my mind.

My friend described it as a powerful exhibit, and as a former interpreter/educator, I appreciate the power of engagement.  What can you take with you? What do you have to leave along the way? -- she said their doctor-guide asked.

She wrote: "We were given 15 seconds to grab five items we would take if suddenly forced from home due to war, natural disaster, etc. As we moved through the stations, we had to give up one item each time. It was an eye-opener, seeing the merits of what was “valuable.”

One of our early trips to Mexico was across the Yucatan Peninsula, way before Cancun was barely on the horizon.  The road was gravel then and the villagers lived in modest thatched traditional dwellings.  That was just the beginning of traveling to places all over the world where people live in very modest circumstances, often with limited food security (the cultures that traditionally grow vegetables and fruits are better off than the pastoral places, it's seemed to me).

Highlands of Southern India

But, I can so easily imagine conflict, lack of food, illness, religious intolerance, gang warfare, etc. making it the only possible choice to leave.

America was founded, after all, by immigrants leaving Europe and other countries due to adverse circumstances;  we don't honor our past by turning away from that.

Trips to Guatemala and Cuba most recently brought the realities of Central American and Caribbean immigrants home.  (The links go to Natural Gardening posts).

In both countries, circumstances are difficult and nutritious food can be in very short supply.  We saw that, too in Tanzania, where during drought times, when we visited some years ago, it's been the only place that I've ever visited where the villagers were on the edge of starvation (without an agricultural tradition, they were dependent on their grazing cattle), if the drought continued.  In many other places in the world, small patches are cultivated for whatever they can yield -- greens, potatoes, manioc, etc.

Looking for a photo to add to this post, I'm reminded that I need to gather together all of the digital photos that we have from our travels over the last 15 yrs in one place -- over the years, updated  computers and applications have meant that the photos are in back-up hard drives and CD's.

So, two screenshots from a presentation about international gardens will need to suffice.   The one above is from a trip to southern India.  The one below is from a trip to Vietnam -- the photos were of gardens near Sapa along with a market in Hoi An.

An array of vegetables in northern Vietnam