well. it touched me. Quoted from Liz’s blog post:
In 2000, I accompanied my mother to Sarajevo to meet a family that she had been supporting and corresponding with since the war, through Women 4 Women International. This was soon after the war ended, and the region was still somewhat unstable. You can’t imagine the people in my life who begged me–begged me–not to go.
I haven’t written about it much publicly (although I did touch on it here) for reasons I can’t entirely grasp just yet. But it wholly changed the direction of my life. How can it not? I met families who became my family, like long-lost cousins I had just discovered.
I listened to women tell me, first-hand, stories of rape and abuse at the hands of Serbian soldiers.
I had toasted steins of pivo with friends, dancing wildly to turbofolk albums in bars that were entirely unremarkable–except for the bombed-out shells that passed for the front entrances.
I slept in the bed of an elderly, formerly wealthy woman who rented out her lovely apartment to visitors to be able to afford her rent. We discovered the next morning over strong coffee and sweet rolls that she had slept on the couch.
I graciously carved the small chicken at a family’s home, that was intended to serve 14 of us.
I picnicked in the most gorgeous park, which our friend had to scout for landmines before choosing a spot for our blanket.
I traded smiles with ten year-old children who had to re-learn how to run, that long had they spent in hiding underground.
I sobbed, as my friend Tima took my hand and held it to her throat so that I could feel the shrapnel that remained imbedded under her skin.
And then, I came home, continued doing what I could for these families emotionally and financially, wrote furiously in my journal about it, and hoped that some day I would find the right way to tell these women’s stories to a larger audience.
Then I went on with my life.
Is my experience one that should be dissected and mocked, simply because of who I am and where I live?
Was I simply a “poverty tourist?”
I guess I am one of those “means justifying the ends” types of gals. I don’t care how or why Madonna adopts children in other countries. I don’t care about Angelina’s motives for being a UNICEF ambassador. And I don’t care whether Nike donated $100 million to human rights charities for good publicity and the tax deduction.
These are the acts that make good things happen.