Thursday, January 22, 2009

A scene on the airplane

The flight from Casablanca to Niamey: while we loaded the plane I was sitting in my seat observing everybody come on board. There was a whole crowd of 20 or 30 people who were on their way back from Mecca--mostly men, but several women, and a few kids. Most of them were dressed in giant floating white robes, and shawls, and many were carrying golden tea kettles and urns. It was quite a scene, all of these pristine white-gold beings filling in the aisles. The magic of it all, however, was then compromised because the seat-assignment regime on airlines is not familiar to people who are accustomed to clawing their way into any available space in the back of a truck. I could tell this was becoming an issue because they each sat in the first empty seat, and no one was looking at their tickets...and then it seemed that many of them were not literate, so they had no way of knowing their seat number anyway.

Everyone handled the whole situation really well--those of us who can read and who know how seating works, helped get people into the right places. It was pretty awesome--and frankly very entertaining--to see this crowd adjust to a completely foreign situation. I especially loved how the women were balancing their suitcases on their heads and still navigating the narrow, crowded aisles. Seeing that gives me courage. It's a reminder that it's fine to do what you know, to not let being different get in the way of doing what you want to do.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

I love picturing this, its great :)

Life for me has been very exciting as I got to go to the Inauguration this week (take a look at my blog for some pictures) and school is going well. Hope you guys are well!! Big Hugs.