Over the past week I have shared food with people from all over the world. All of us were attending the International Permaculture Convergence in England. Breakfast company, for example, went as follows:
Day 1: Hong Kong
Day 2: India
Day 3: Australia and Germany
Day 4: South Africa
Day 5: England, Australia, Germany
Day 6; South Africa, Hong Kong
At other meals I ate with folks from Malawi, Zimbabwe, New England, California, Pennsylvania, Ireland, Holland, New Zealand, The United Arab Emirates… and I’m sure many other places that I just can’t bring to mind. Away from the dining table I’ve talked to people from so many other places. I’ve heard ordinary people’s voices, not filtered through the media. I’ve talked to someone who described their experience as a soldier in the East German army in Berlin when the wall came down; I’ve heard what residents of Hong Kong think about China; I’ve discussed apartheid with someone who lived through it in South Africa; I heard the news that Tony Abbott had been ousted from a real-live Australian rather than via the BBC… it has been an interesting week.
Almost everything we know about the wider world is filtered through the media and it is, therefore, an eye-opener to hear about events, lives, politics and anything else from a real person with direct experience. It is simultaneously much gentler (no garish media imagery, just a real voice) and much more shocking….
“What happened to you when the wall came down?”
“They just sent us home… but they took our guns off us first.”
I have never before had the opportunity to interact, face-to-face, with so many people from so many countries. If you ever get the chance to attend such an event, I recommend that you seize it with both hands. I think it’s going to take quite some time to mull over everything I have heard and seen.
There was no shortage of people to talk to
Oh, and I also met up with many old friends and sold lots of hats…. all round an amazing week. Now please excuse me while I go and lie down for a bit…