As I was sitting at Georgetown airport, waiting for my flight, I overheard a guy some distance away saying on the phone “This country is very corrupt …”. I couldn’t help looking up at him and thinking, “The poor guy! He didn’t know what he missed!” I didn’t know what he had experienced while here and what ‘lens’ he’s been using, but obviously he must have been using a different lens from the one I was using. So while he’s departing with memories of the big C for corruption, I’m departing with other, and to me more important, big Cs for care, compassion, companionship, community, capacities, competence, and connections.

Maybe we should invite that guy to join the Guyana team for a SALT visit some time!

This small incident reminded me of another piece of wisdom I came across while going around Georgetown the other day. Gaston and I were riding in a taxi when we stopped at a red light, allowing me to catch a quick glimpse of the inscription on the wall of a girls’ school, “We have seen the enemy, and it is us”. I had thought it was profound then: we could choose the lens with which we looked at things, and in doing so we could choose to be our own best friend or our own worst enemy. It seemed even more profound now as I sat reflecting on that guy and what he had proclaimed. It became clearer to me that we could indeed choose our lens, and if we

chose the negative lens we would not recognize what beauties and blessings existed around us that we missed seeing and appreciating, and in so doing we became our own worst enemy as we deprived ourselves of delighting in possibilities and potentials, of seeing the common humanity that binds and bonds us, and of recognizing what really made life worth living. Worse, in so doing, we’d probably turn others into enemies instead of friends, because we didn’t see the goodness in them.

See how Guyana continues to teach us everyday in its quiet, gentle way? For me, that’s the secret of Guyana!

Many thanks to all my Guyanese friends!


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Comment by Autry Haynes on February 14, 2010 at 6:04pm
Thanks Usa for those observations, this is really INSPIRING:-) You know if you have glass that is half full with dirty water, but you take very clean water and CONTINOUSLY pour the clean water into the glass, what happens? Eventually the dirty water will be displaced, so it is with our minds and LENS! Thanks Usa. Really love this.


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