Welcome to JP Melville's review, experience, and statement on foreign aid and the international development industry. A conservative faith in family. A love affair riding the riotous tensions between money, personal freedom, the majestic travesty of our specie's ecological footprint, and economic politics. Selected writing of both prose and poetry, anecdotal travel log to rhetorical essay, dating back from the 1980's to the present. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Sunday Morning, Lhasa

Sunday morning, about eight o'clock, air crisp in this room and when I pull back the curtains, I see that fresh snow has fallen, a soft scattering between the rocks and dirt in the alley behind this hotel, a dusting over the mountains.
Cold permeates everything.  Altitude.  Three thousand seven hundred metres.
Sunday morning.  Alone.  But not lonely.  From the time of my arrival, I have been happy here.  Of course, I always know that this may change.  Will change.  And I, powerless, not resigned, am pleased with knowing this.  I am also pleased, without understanding why, that somewhere on the far side of the oceans, there is my family, my lifelong friends.  Inside me, or of me, boils a profound respect and wonder for both the anger and the passion which permeates my being, how over such vast distances flesh and blood and familiarity stay riotously alive.
Sunday morning, sitting cross legged before a machine, small and innocuous, honks of cars on the street at the front of the building, the heater fan blowing tirelessly to warm the room, papers scattered to my right and to my left, even on the coffee table behind me.  Over against the wall, between two heavily cushioned chairs, a series of teas and coffee rest in their green and red and brown packages on a small platform.  A single bed to my right, with spattered gold covers.  On the ceiling, patterned paintings of flowers in deep orange and green and blue, they circumnavigate the perimeter of the walls.  A large rug has been thrown across the floor, visually comfortable, easy to walk on, yet cold all the same.
Sunday morning.  My physical world around me is real.  I reach out and touch it.  And in reaching out, I sense complete separation.  Here I am, in the world, of the world, separate from the world.  An old philosophy.  Even with my hands pressed together, my nostrils resting on the tips of my fingers while I think, I sense the touch, the cool tips of my nails as separate entities.
Sunday morning and soon my new friend and colleague Gong Bu Trashi will arrive.  He should be here within thirty minutes.  I will then run down to the hotel kitchen, dive into the melee of pots and pans and gas flames and vegetables and spices in little cardboard boxes, chatter with the Nepali cooks, and arrange for myself freshly boiled water.  With this and a thermos in hand, I can prepare a few cups of the dark coffee which I brought from Canada.  Gong Bu and I have been sharing this coffee on cold mornings, a small ritual which we both enjoy, the rich chocolately flavour sliding over our palates.  We will quickly ready ourselves for interviews.  Today is the big day for about ten or twelve young people who are dreaming of working with us.
Sunday morning.  Time to leave myself and join the world.
Just moments remaining, to settle the passion for family, for friends, for the familiar so far away.  I knowing full well that they have gone nowhere.  Each and all simply resting inside my heart and mind.
Now ready, to work.
Sunday morning.

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