Of the approximate 1.3 billion people in China, about 350 million live at or below the UN poverty level. Far less generous than the US poverty level, that’s less than $1 per day! , I also suspect, unlike those in the US, that most of these people work hard for even that much. I have gone back into the merchants neighborhood several times to look for my little friend and his Dad, and yesterday they were there, in the same place. This time the boy was sitting up and smiling. I put a more significant amount of money in their can this time and paused for a longer look. He did not appear to be near death as I had previously thought. I concluded that his injuries are definitely severe burns that never were fully closed. His face was horribly scared, he has no toes or fingers, and definitely can’t walk. They were so grateful for the money, it made there day. Like Michelle said earlier, suffering is relative. This man and his boy acted as if it was Christmas. Maybe all that can will by them is a hot meal and a bath, and yet that could be like a holiday for them. I let them go now, and leave with this memory of how much more I need to do.
On a lighter note, the police here are plentiful, confident, and quiet. They say the crime rate is high here, and there are “guards” everywhere. Most look like high school kids. I haven’t seen any signs of even a criminal element here. Societies have their own stereotype features such as Italians are friendly and easy going, French are standoffish, Germans are loud and pushy, and the Chinese are obligated or stuck to protocol, yet there are many contradictions to that rigidity. Michelle’s cousin Beth stated it very well by saying its nice they are so excited about Madeline, too bad they don’t see how precious their own little girls are. They are resentful if a Chinese woman is with a western man, yet they don’t empower their women. Another quirky thing is the service. It’s too good. The waiters hover over you in the restaurant, the elevator attendant not only pushes the button to call it, she insist on rushing in front of you to hold the door, as if that’s necessary. Even though I’ve been up to my room 50 times this week, when the door opens I’m always greeted with “26th floor! This way please” At the gym, guys put the treadmill on a steep incline, then walk slowly backwards, in the pool I was obstructed by a guy walking through my lane while talking on his cell phone, in waist high water. Yes, even over here there are “loud cell phone talkin guys.”
I want to extend my thanks to all my clients for their support in me being out of the office for such an extended period. I’m sure my staff is accommodating you all very well. I can only expect that my life enriching experience here will somehow make me a more effective advisor for you.
My long 15 mile run was very satisfying. I went down one side of the river and up the other. Just like any big city, it took me through working class downtown and I ended up in a park along the river in an upscale neighborhood of high rises, an opera house much like the Kravitz Center, and people doing the same things you would see them doing in central park. What a huge social class difference between these folks and the ones in the merchant neighborhood I filmed yesterday. At the very end of the island I was briefly entertained by a dozen kite fighters. (Small kites with glass dipped string trying to cut each others string) I watched as one kite attacked and cut loose two others which gently floated down to the river. Having just finished reading the book The Kiterunner, it was nice to see what was so eloquently described to me in the book. I wonder how many other cultures enjoy this.
Bliss is, well, her name says it all. She is naughty and loud, and keeping up.
She is definitely behind developmentally due to her orphanage care, and making strides every day. She’s a one year old with 6 month motor skills. Mom taught her how to pinch a cheerio today, and we working on getting it to her mouth. She is very loving and responds well to affection. I’m already in love with her. I hogged her all day yesterday. So she’s all ready for Grammy, “the baby hog”