By Yujia Chen
The bees don’t understand why the river keeps pouring water into their nest because they didn’t see me swaying the boat – blame it on God. You didn’t pray hard enough.
No worries, for us, human, vini, vici, vichi.
This trip, to me, is about acceptance, breaking down all the preconceptions and to be real.
It is okay to walk around an island that has nothing but marsh and mangroves, and let useless imaginations fly for a whole afternoon. It is okay to choose a real park and see only a couple of deer over a “zoo park” that has everything manually kept for you to see. Should we accept what we want to see or what is real? Or can we choose all the time?
The bees come out of the nest and circle above the mud, but after a while, they accept the reality in which the water has been poured in their nest, then they go back and live with it. Everything goes back to normal. When Kecouta’s village was forced to leave the fertile land and live in a barren field, the village did it, no complaint. That’s the spirit I see in every person in Senegal. See, that’s the problem of our society: we teach our children “if you want it, go get it.” What you do when you do not always get what you want?
After seeing all the dramatic photographs of Africa and finally getting to come and see a completely different scene, how do you react? Instead of getting disappointed, I get excited, because this is real. This is the reality, which I would not know unless I am in it, I can smell it, see it, and taste it. I can sense it.
That’s how experience differs from knowledge. Personal experience is more real than pure knowledge. It may not be true since I can only see the reality from a certain perspective; however, if true knowledge that we gather from many so-called experts is real and yet it is so abstract or so far away from my experience, it would be hard for anyone to truly obtain that knowledge. I guess that’s why an old Chinese saying concludes that you need to travel a lot while reading a lot.
Our steps are too big and pace too fast. We fulfill everything, we seize time, and get the best out of every possible corner. We even fulfill our potential, which is an area that is supposed to be unreachable in the literal sense. Chill out.