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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Never Give Up on a Dream

Never Give Up on a Dream

Rod Stewart

If there's doubt and you're cold,
Don't you worry what the future holds.
We've gotta have heroes to teach us all
To never give up on a dream.

Claim the road, touch the sun,
No force on earth could stop you run.
When your heart bursts like the sun
Never never give up on a dream.
Crazy notions fill your head,
You gotta break all the records set.
Push yourself until the end
But don't you ever give up on your dream.
Sing a song for me children
You don't need no restrictions yeah
You can't live on sympathy.
You just need to go the distance,
That's all you need to be free.

This lyric also inspired a German woman by the name of Stella Deetjen who visited India on a fluke, saw the plight of lepers, stayed and helped for nine years. Then she moved to Nepal where she persuaded local people, through their shaman, to help build birth houses and schools. She inspired, they took on the challenge and her projects are now furthered through the Back To Life Foundation.

I heard about her through a Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB) interview. It is unfortunately in German, but those of you who know the language must listen to it. These URLs, the second is a shrunk version of the first, may have to be copied to a browser.

What fascinates me about Stella Deetjen is that while she calls herself a development helper – as if by default – she is inspired by a Faith that truly does path all understanding. Except she calls it the Strength of Love or Power of Love. By the way, her dread locks were something she came up with to discourage Benares men from, well, harassing her – as in nice blonde hair equals available woman. 

Love overcomes strangeness and fear. I know this from my own field work, especially, my first field work in Zambia. Most readers already know that I am referring to the book, My Apprenticeship: An Intellectual Journey.

The book is intended for younger readers. Like the two stories above, if on a far smaller scale, it tells the story of daring to place yourself in a strange world with both feet on the ground. The real ground. Here is an excerpt:

There were the blind and the lame, lepers and the insane. Every deformity nature had wrought upon its people paraded before my eyes. As rapidly as it generated birth, it killed. And when nature was finally generous and turned the soil fertile, it increased the parasites that devoured its growth. No one could tell me that nature, untouched by humankind, was beautiful, at best it was indifferent and usually it killed. Lenda was not only the valley of the blind, more appropriately, it was also the valley of death. “We die fast in the valley,” was a common refrain.

According to existentialists … much of the life of any person remains (unexamined). Comfortably insulated by habit and routine he dwells in a state of philosophic oblivion, blindly unaware of the real conditions of human existence. Suddenly, however, there comes a moment when a direct encounter with life is inescapable (Gill and Sherman, 1973, p.22, word in bracket added by author).

For me, there would be many such moments in this valley when a hint of life expiring would increase my dread and focus attention on myself and the human condition. At such times, I would find myself tossed into the past, overcome either by feelings of guilt or bursts of anger. There was the unfathomable pain of mere existence. My nicely ordered world would dissolve into a slimy morass of nothing, oppressing me with its senselessness. At those moments, I experienced not only the meaning of being abandoned but also that of being finite. It’s this realization of the possibility of my not being that persuaded me, again and again, to learn who I was and what it meant to exist… (Poewe 2018: 63-64).

Life only demands from you the strength you possess. Only one feat is possible—not to have run away.
Dag Hammarskjold