Here I am at an internet coffee stop in the Lima, Peru airport. We’ve been in Peru for 10 days. For 9 of those days we were living out in the jungle with our new friends from the Bora Tribe, in the village of San Andreas. Never in my life have I met such gracious people who extend a profound sense of community and love. Considered to be very poor by the world’s standards, they are extremely wealthy in terms of love, joy and being content in this life regardless of what material possessions they own. They don’t seem to be haunted with the hunger of greed that perpetuates our society and sucks the very life force out of us, robbing us of why we were created.
On one of the last nights in the village, one of my students was asking one of the village elders, Walter, questions about jungle life, etc. He was asking through a translator. One of the questions he asked was “Are there any cannibals in the region?” Walter answered “no, not at all.” But then our translator, after thinking for a moment, said, “Yes, actually there are. They live in the city and they wear suits and ties. They have big houses only for themselves and they are consumed with greed that eats those who are weaker then them. Instead of using their power and wealth to help others, they use it to consume everyone and everything in their path. These are the cannibals – and there are many of them.”
Isn’t it true? The world tells us to live for self. Climb the corporate ladder. Success is defined as what brand you can buy, where you live, how much you’ve got put away for retirement, how big is your tv, what is your degree, how much money you make and what you spend it on … And on and on the message goes…
Yet I see my jungle friend’s love and lifestyle and realize they are the ones who are truly successful. They are the ones who have arrived. As one of my other student’s shared: “We have seen those who have nothing, yet who have every kind of happiness. And we see those who have so much, yet are still depressed.” Yes, my jungle friends, the people of San Andreas, are truly the wealthy ones. We are the ones who suffer from true poverty.
It’s true – there are cannibals still around today. The question to ask is this: Am I one of them?