|Not in Kansas anymore!|
So, I have landed in Oxford England, far from my tropical home. Just about as far as you could get in terms of weather, culture and development! I am here to work for Oxfam, so through that I will at least still be in touch with my beloved tropics and life in what some people might call "the majority world" - that is, the parts of the Earth where the majority of the population of our planet live.
Perhaps you have seen this before:
If the world were a village of 100 people:
61 would be Asians, 12 Europeans, 8 North Americans, 5 South American and the Caribbean, 13 would be Africans and 1 would be from Oceania.
20 people own 75% of the entire world income.
80 would live in substandard housing
24 would not have any electricity (And of the 76% that do have electricity, most would only use it for light at night.)
67 would be unable to read.
Only 1 would have a university education.
50 would be malnourished and 1 dying of starvation.
33 would be without access to a safe water supply.
What always strikes me when I return to Europe or North America is just how much we take for granted the privileges of our every day lives. We view these things not as a luxury, but as a basic entitlement: housing, running water, education. In our commercialized world, we buy goods without thinking of whether or not we really NEED them. In some places people have to count every penny they earn and spend, feeding their families on less than the equivalent of $1 or $2 per day.
Today as I wandered the streets of my new home - exploring, shopping (sweaters! socks!), walking, I can't help but feeling like a stranger in a strange land, or like the children from the Chronicles of Narnia - knowing there is another world out there that most people are completely unaware of. The challenge for me will be to exist in this world mindfully - and that is where yoga will help me!
Stay tuned for more Yoga Gypsy as I discover the yoga scene in Oxford, become a yoga student again, and keep on reflecting on learning and teaching yoga, as well as development issues, mindful consumerism and a whole lot more.
It's going to be a great 2011 folks!!
PS: Cool bit of trivia - Amsterdam's Schipol airport has a meditation centre! How awesome is that?