I very recently had the extraordinary opportunity of visiting Burkina Faso, a small country in western Africa, that has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. I went at the invitation of a friend who was born there and who asked me to help him launch an organization to improve the school in the village where he has native ties.
He made it possible for me to see the country through his eyes, a place he loves deeply, where people are warm and welcoming, where young people routinely greet their elders with gestures of respect, where Muslims and Christians and indigenous religious groups, as well as different ethnic groups, live easily side-by-side—a place teeming with life and possibility.
But so much of life there is lived on the very margins of sustenance and, more than a week after my return, I have stopped trying to reconcile our lives here with how the vast majority of the population there, and indeed in the world, lives. Instead, we will continue to do what we know how to do: to make art, creating beauty that will hopefully inspire open hearts and eyes that look beyond.
And I will do what I can to help my friend fulfill his vision of bringing 21st century possibilities to a village that only got electricity two years ago—a leap of faith, ingenuity and creativity—indeed, art in another form. And I will keep you posted re our progress.