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Spring Break 2005

August 11, 2001

The shelf is lined with a wood carved figure of an African woman. “We named it Mrs. Boppard, but we don’t think much of it,”  a small man explains as he catches me gazing at the figurine. I was 12, a boy, and part of a ragged group of child soldiers commanded by a small man. Soldiers marching outside, as far as the eye can see. We are in some third world country, I’m not sure where. Why would I be put here, why would this be MY life?

It occurs to me that life is not what happens to us; that we shape our world.

This idea was not so clear a moment ago when I was sleeping soundly in my London hotel room.

I wrote this journal entry on the last day of a three month trip throughout Europe in 2001. It is a brief description of a dream I had about dying and going to “Heaven.” Heaven, it turned out, was life as a 12 year old child soldier in an unknown third world country. Not exactly what I had in mind for the afterlife.

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Image from Foreign Policy

I was reminded of the dream yesterday when I read Snoring Dog Studio’s post, British TV Series and Reincarnation Wishes which had nothing to do with child soldiers, but triggered the memory of my “British” reincarnation dream.

I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I have been haunted by the dream for years and even more so lately after the Kony video.

Then last night, I opened up my email and found Sarvodaya’s post Child Soldiers waiting for me.

Who am I to turn my back on coincidence?

Perhaps, the universe is telling me to tell you to go check out  Sarvodaya; it is a very well written and thought provoking blog written by a young man who would have been a little older than 12 when I had my Mrs. Boppard dream.

Or perhaps, it is just another reminder
that hatred is a lousy parent regardless
of who one is or where one lives.

Most likely, a coincidence.

Coincidentally, the very next entry in my well worn 2001 travel journal:

September 11, 2001

The World Trade Center no longer exists. It was plowed into by two hijacked commercial airliners. The Pentagon was also plowed into by a hijacked airplane. No one is sure how many people have died . . . .

Many innocent people died today. I hope that our government chooses not to kill innocent people in retaliation.

There is more on the pages that follow, it is hopeful . . . “heartfelt  emails poured into my inbox from the people we have met during our travels”. . . “a sense of goodness in the world”  . . . “being part of a greater humanity” . . . .

We all know what happened.

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Spring Break 2005

Child soldiers.