I encountered an interesting challenge while talking with a Captain of a ship tonight after he saw a snippet of news on CNN. CNN was talking about what is going on in Ferguson in the wake of the Grand Jury decision on the shooting. The conversation left me with some questions. How do you explain to someone the situation of Ferguson when they are from another country? How do you explain to them why people are shooting and hurting when they do not speak English very well? How do you understand what they are thinking about the situation when you don’t know how you feel yourself? How do you explain what it means to be privileged in America when the sailor or Captain is working everyday, including holidays, to provide a better life for his/her family because they cannot do so in their home country? These are questions that I am coming to consider during my work with Global Maritime Ministries. We as people of privilege take for granted the concept of communication with those we love and care about. We take for granted the idea of going to Wal-mart to buy what we need anytime we want. The household I grew up in was not one that called into question these ideas. If we needed something, we went to the store to get it. We did not have to think about whether transportation was available. We did not have to think about whether the money needed to be sent to family members in another country instead. (Part of what we do at Global is providing a Money Gram service so the seafarers can send money home if they wish to or need to and transportation to the store when they are in port.)
Another concept that we are looking at right now is the concept of simple living and living locally. This provides an interesting discussion for me because I am working with seafarers, whose job it is to provide those things that we do not buy locally. How do I explain to the seafarers about this concept, if they were to ask? This concept of buying locally, buying used, growing the food needed or buy the food from local farmers, is a very new concept to me. Growing up we just bought what we needed when we needed it. This concept of living simply and locally also makes me wonder if relationships in communities would be stronger by it being practiced by more people. If relationships were stronger what would the Ferguson situation look like? What would America look like?