On the light side, I did something very uncharacteristic and made dinner completely on a whim tonight with no recipe. Being a perfectionist, I find improvisational cooking to be extremely nerve-wracking. How will you know what it will taste like if you just throw stuff into the pan? I was trying to remember a recipe I made twice several years ago when I still lived in Nashville. It ended up being a spicy salsa/beef/refried bean concoction that tasted great. Geoff’s trying to lose weight, and I, of course, am much too lazy and finicky for such nonsense, so this meal comes with options, his choice including as many jalapeños as he can handle while mine was loaded up with tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream.
The thing that made the biggest impression on me today, though, was the documentary film, Born Into Brothels about a group of children who live in a brothel in Calcutta, India. All of them are children of sex workers. They are surrounded by sex and violence every day. Their parents or grandparents don’t seem to care much at all for their education or their future, being mostly concerned with how much money the children can bring in. I suppose poverty leads to desperation, and I’ve never lived in these circumstances, so who am I to say how people should behave, but from my Western point of view, the lives of these children were dismal and tragic.
The filmmaker gives all the children a camera and teaches them photography. She also goes to great efforts to get the children enrolled in boarding schools so that they can get an education away from the dysfunctional environment they live in. The end of the film seemed so promising. The children were accepted into various boarding schools, and one boy even took a trip to a photography expo in Amsterdam. But reading the postscript about each of the children at the very end was so disheartening. Most of them had been taken out of school again by their parents or had run away. I’m so interested to find out what happened to these talented kids. I’m sure at least a couple of the girls are currently working as prostitutes. It breaks my heart.
Being naturally prone to guilt, I instantly began to think what a horrible person I am for spending all of my time thinking about cookies when young women are being forced into prostitution around the world. What am I doing to help them? I feel like I should walk out my door right now and find someone to save. But I have no idea where to go or what to do. I have no talents or skills. I have no money. I can’t teach kids to be artists. I can’t inspire anyone to do anything. I often feel like such a waste of space. I’ve neglected my purpose. I deserve every bad thing that’s ever happened to me.
If you like to pretend that the world is full of nothing but unicorns and puppy dogs and everybody is pink and jolly and fat, you should definitely not see this film. However, if you’re interested in the great work that people are doing around the world to help raise up humanity and lead children toward a life of dignity, see Born Into Brothels. And then do something to help a child. Don’t ask me what. But do it.