Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.
For two weeks long, away we went to a land so unfamiliar to us, physically and culturally. We are so used to tall buildings with extravagant lighting that the sight of acres and acres of green fields was such a fresh enjoyment everyday. Our destination was an 8-hour journey from the capital city and an additional 1-hour away from the subsequent city. And nope, we did not ride on just any vehicles. It had to be the white Jeeps to carry us through the rocky paths.
Upon arrival at the hosts’ residences, we had already panted quite heavily from the 15-minute walking and climbing to a higher ground, stepping solely on the unstable and uneven rocks. The intense breathing was soon replaced by a squeak as we saw that there were goats at the yard of the house. They were grassing and staring at us while doing so, aware that there were many new, unfamiliar faces. And then, we learned that white is a recessive gene for goats.
For the first few days, I kept thinking that this volunteering trip was more like a boot camp since our physical and mental capacities were stretched by the unusual environment we were in. There were no public transport within the village, no proper roads, no all-day electricity and water supply. Near or far, walking is the only means of transportation. Rain or shine, rocks and soils are the only surfaces constructing the pathways. Winter or summer, the mountain water is the main source of water supply. That is their way of life, they are happy, they are content.