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I close my eyes, open them. Close, open. Close, open. Just blinking at the breathtaking landscape before me.

Whether in the bustling city of Tana with so many shocking smells, or the fields upon fields of rice patties stretching like steps up to the sky, or the heat-forming haze over burnt grass as the sky turns from the light blue of day to the deep star-studded indigo of night. This country opens my eyes, and closes them.

Open to the beauty, to the nature and the culuture, to a new way of living and thinking and existing. Open, as well, to a kind of poverty I have never witnessed, open to children shamelessly begging in the streets, as if they know they are a main source of income for their fmaily. But closed as well.

Closed in acknowledgement to the privilege of home. Closed to our capitalist attitude of thinking everything is deserved and earned, to our idea of fairness and wealth.

Open, close. Open, close.

Sometimes it is easier to keep them closed, to not bare witness to this world and all its injustices, but then a bus passes, or a plane sings as it flies overhead, or a group of children approaches baring food, and I hold my breath until the air tastes a little sweeter.