Two views from the Mountain Top

By Khalyani Kumaran

We had taken the microbus from Bocas to David – as usual it was raining. And as we were winding through the mountainous pathways of Central Panama we came upon a torn up truck with its contents splayed across the hilltop. The microbus stopped and everybody got out.

Objectively speaking, there were no bodies on the road. There were no policeman or highway assistance. The truck was upside down and empty of its contents. And it’s contents was all over the place getting wet in the rain.  Simple words, simple verbs. However me and Rafal both saw different things…

According to Rafal, this is what happened: the passengers got out of the bus and stole everything. It was wrong.

Simple words, simple verbs. However my take is slightly different:

As I sat looking through the window of the microbus, I wondered whether the same rules applied. Yes, technically our fellow passengers on the bus were taking things that were not necessarily theirs to take – but as touched upon in a previous post, Panama is one of the most economically imbalanced countries in the world – what do I know about living without food security? How do I know whether I would be different? What do any of us reading this blog on our smartphones and laptops know? Unwanted food is usually given freely to those who need it…what would have happened to those boxes on the mountainside and the the plastic wrapped contents of the cereals inside? Would cereals left out in the rain even be allowed to be resold? Would it not have gone to waste anyway?

Perhaps I am more forgiving than most – but what I have learnt is that some people go through life with a firm idea of what is “right” and what is “wrong” – they see the world through the lense of that filter and know how to act and react in every situation. But what if resources are not scarce; what if food and love are not finite and what if life gifts us with exactly what we need at exactly the right time? Would we be so quick to judge those who stumble across food that is not theirs and assume it is?

One event, two points of view, multiple truths.

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