Tag Archives: Harvard

Homeless in Harvard

29 Apr

Who has seen Legally Blonde? All of you? Good! Do you remember this image of Harvard’s red brick buildings and its prestigious…lawns? Yes? Good no.2.Well, I’ll get to that later…

I am in a very “returned from volunteering” type of mood right now, which is lucky for anyone who wants to think about returning from volunteering, because I am meant to be studying right now
but I’ll return to that later as well I guess…

I wanted to mention a bit of a culture shock for me…or maybe more shocking for the people witnessing…especially my brother.

In 2008 I travelled to Guyana where I worked for 3 months. Now can I just say that regardless of what Lonely Planet says (Lonely Planet is mainly nonsense with fancy photography…and I once saw in a Lonely planet yearbook – I think it was 2010 – that Afghanistan was characterised by its amazing history and Guyana by its horrible crime)…Guyana is a beautiful country swept up in a swathe of Amazonian amazements, a scent of Caribbean Carnivale, and the taste of sweet cocunut bread…

I loved it there and will be talking about its wishful wonders washed up in a whirlwind of history more down the track (note: that was an alluring grab so that you keep reading my posts!).

But what I wanted to mention is what I did straight after Guyana.

After 3 months in Guyana, I was wisked off to New York (this should be sung like Alicia Keys does btw), Chicago (A tourist’s delight in the Summer: think Gotham city, but in the Summertime with so many free music and arts festivals that I think even the hippies had to stop smoking just to keep up)…and finally to meet my brother in Boston…here’s where the Harvard thing comes in…

Now, not only was I massively culture shocked by Chicago (but made some great friends who took me to CHURCH! – think of Big Mama’s House if you can – Evanglical churches on the South Side that reminded me a lot of Guyana) but I was trying to bring a lot of my lifestyle from Guyana into CHicago…namely, being a little dirtier than normal and walking barefoot…or in thongs at most – at this point I did not owne shoes…

This was a bit of a shock to my half-brother. He is the brains of the bunch and is studying at Harvard. I thought it would be great to stay with him for a week. So did he…

that was until he saw me from across Harvard’s prestigious lawn. Barefoot, and a little dirtier and the rest.

I hadn’t seen my brother for about 4 years, and I think in that moment, he wished it could have been 4 more…

but we ended up having a great time…even though he still and always will think I am weird…

However, all the while I couldn’t help thinking…that the grass beneath my feet was so finely cut, that it barely felt like grass at all. It was greener than the imagined colour green. And it smelled so full of grass and nothing of dirt. It is a truely beautiful lawn…

But I couldn’t help thinking that if the amount of money that went into Harvard’s prestigious lawns went into helping a homeless friend I made on the lawn that day…or even was redistributed back into some of the Guyanese communities I had just come from….maybe people would think that was even more beautiful than clean grass…

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