Come, imagine with me.
In the old world, different ethnic groups saw one another as threats. “If we’re right, then they must be wrong. Worse yet, if they’re right…”
There was a tension until we converted other tribes or nations or cultures to our own way of being, or else wiped them out. Genoside.
All that is over. The world is full of a wide diversity of peoples and ways of life. Each group is fascinated to learn about the others. Maybe we will adopt some of their ways, but in any case we will learn about ourselves from seeing how different another people can be. So many ways to be human.
Before, there were 6,500 languages, and each year there were 40 fewer than the year before. Now the number of languages is growing. It is already back up over 7,000 because quasi self-sufficient tribes quickly develop their own ways to communicate.
- I’m scared
- Well, of course you’re scared, Will. If you weren’t scared, how could this be a challenge appropriate to your Anafar?
- That doesn’t make me any less scared, and I don’t like it when you take my feelings and interpret them on me.
- I’m sorry. You’re scared, Will. I hear you and I understand.
- I have thought it isn’t right. I’m not ready to leave. If it were with the Magicodumbras, maybe. But the Zuzumozis are just too strange. I don’t think I can get used to living with the Zuzumozis.
- Remember when Nick said the same thing about the Namibians? A year later, he came back speaking fluent Otjiherero, and teaching all his friends to dance the Malgaisa with him.
- Tell me about when you were a boy, Daddy. Did you have an Anafar year?
- When I was a boy. When I was a boy, the world was a different place. More rigid by far, more homogenized. There were other nations, other ways to be. But I hardly knew anything about them, and in my ignorance, I dismissed them as primitive and uninteresting. So no, I never had an Anafar year.
- You didn’t have an Anafar, and you grew up just fine. So why do I have to leave the Red Hills and everyone I love?
- Kahokia is a good place. It’s our good place, and we love it. But it’s not the only good place, and our way isn’t the only way to live. I believe in change and growth and always trying new things. We were not given this lifetime just so we could live comfortably, every day the same. You and I and every living being is an agent of change.
- But I’m young and everything in Kahokia is still new and fresh for me. I am just learning the ways of our city. It’s not fair to rip me out of this new environment and dump me in a different new environment.
- Oh, Will! No one is dumping you. We will call you and write to you every day. Many times a day, if you can stand it. I will always be thinking about you and listening to you. And the year will be over before you know it, and you will not want to return to Kahokia.
- Maybe so. But I am just growing to love the things we do and the ways we do them. I love the way that all our food is in one pantry, where everyone contributes and everyone takes what they like all the time. I love holding the babies of my neighbors and gazing into their little eyes. I love the forest, our Kahokian forest, and all the things I’ve learned about how the forest feeds us.
- Yes, life here is especially rich for young people, and we have all worked to create for our children the life that we did not have when we were children. And an essential part of your life as a Kahokian is to learn about other peoples, other ways to be human, other lands with their plants and animals and the ways people have learned to live with those other lands. I ask you to trust me that this is good.