Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Am Because We Are

I've been meaning... for weeks now... to write about the poverty I saw while I was in Uganda. I stumbled upon this film - I Am Because We Are - and thought it's much better to show what Africa is like than to try and explain... After a month in Uganda, I feel like this film is spot on.

Watch it here.

Madonna narrates the film. People have asked me what my intrigue is with Africa ... why am I so intrigued by it. Madonna says, "Malawi needs change desperately, yet there are so many things I would never want to change. The people that live here are amazing. I often feel like we're the ones that have it wrong. In spite of all the hardships and devistation, they have a sense of community and extended family that I haven't seen anywhere else. Look around you, if someone on your street lost a member of their family, would everyone in the neighborhood get together to cook a meal? To make sure the children are looked after? Or to simply share in the burden of grief? When you travel around Malawi, you see how diverse the landscape is... couple that with the resiliency of the people. It's hard to understand why there is so much suffering. Life is a paradox and there is duality in everything. On the one hand you can come to Malawi, and think, "Wow, these people are so caught up in these traditions that are thousands of years old"... but on the other hand you can walk down the street and wave to people and smile and there is a sense of humanity that you can't find in places like America or England. It feels like modernization equals no humanity. You get trapped when you come here, you get caught up in this dichotomy where you think if they could only understand what I understand they could fix everything... but then I look at the way they live and I think Oh God... they have illnesses and they have cultural traditions, but yet they're happy... and you can drive down a street in Beverly Hills, you could drive down Central Park West and you don't see that kind of joy... you don't see that kind of happiness... so who's right? Being in Africa has made me understand that suffering is subjective - there is an enormous amount of suffering here that is really tangible. People are dying of illnesses, they're hungry, they don't have parents, they don't have a roof over their head... they don't have so many basic things that we take for granted and yet they have a joy and appreciation and a gratitude that we could never understand..."

Bill Clinton says, "People say why do you love it so much, and I always say it is because they have the highest percentage of people I believe anywhere on earth that wake up with a song in their heart..They sing through their pain and their need and the madness of the people around them... it's almost like an ingrained wisdom of more than a 100,000 years."

I Am Because We Are. It's an understanding that we are all interconnected... we are all children of the world... and we are all responsible for one another.


  1. Wow, beautiful post. Watching now. Man I want to go to Africa someday!

  2. You should! Everyone should. It's an amazing place unlike any other!
    Thanks for watching!