Listening for the Alien Heartbeat

The first job when writing a post is to work out for who you are writing it.  There is no doubt here:  it is for these two, wide-eyed and beautiful, despite growing up in a generation of vicious civil war in which both miserable sides used children as soldiers on the front line.

Nuwara Eliya - Boy and Girl in Doorwayand for this girl in the Dora the Explorer cap (grainy because it was late and dark) living in one of the poorer areas of Sri Lanka, and in a country and age when child labor is only now being dealt with.  Twenty years ago Dora the Explorer was another planet.

Nuwara Eliya - Schoolgirl in Dora the Explorer Hatand for this wild djinn bringing me good luck from a fruit tree, a reminder of the orphaned survivors of the 2004 Tsunami and the exploitation and violence they live under:

Nuwara Eliya - Good Luck Djinn in TreeThis is a new generation of Sri Lankan children, with new lives and new opportunities, even if they still share the grounds with cows:

Shantipura - Schoolboys and CowI saw them rushing past on many railway stations, crossings and roads.  Serious faces, serious about their future:

Sri Lanka - School Kids Rushing along Railway PlatformThey know they are the lucky ones.

12 Responses to “For the Wide-eyed & Beautiful”

  1. Victoria

    Extraordinarily beautiful faces. Their hopefulness inspires me, and gives me hope, for all children and the future.

    • alienheartbeat

      Yes they are. One of the reasons I find it difficult to control my anger and write in a restrained way about these things. Children on the front line??

      • wewerenothing

        I know, right!!! But you done good. Upbeat and no “Wah!” Being sober and being all Wah!! are two different things. (I see myself in The kid in the trre — only I fell out lots of times!!!)

  2. Mike Goldstone

    Have you ever noticed that the poorest countries focus the most on sending their kids to school in smart uniforms? We saw the same thing throughout Africa last summer…and it’s been what we’ve grown up with Asia all the years we’ve been here…’s a sign of the purposefulness of emergent nations.

    As I try to explain to my kids, the population of the world has roughly doubled in my lifetime but literacy and access to education/knowledge has probably quintrupled, so Western kids are no longer the priviliged and protected 90% (excuses for the poor math!).

  3. alienheartbeat

    I had not really thought of that before, but you are right – the focus on uniforms is as you describe, and may be a marker for the focus on education.

    OOn your point about access to education, we grew up in countries, at at times, when life was easy. My first trip to Asia (Indonesia) was a shock. I realized life wasn’t really easy. Agree Mike, we do have to teach our kids that life isn’t really easy, and that we cannot take our privileges and opportunities for granted – they are fleeting.

  4. drawandshoot

    I hope they stay wide-eyed and beautiful for a good long time. A post of hope. It’s such a tough world for so many.

  5. Jessica

    Beautiful post. It is good there is hope, even if it is slow in coming. I love those faces. I’d write for them, too. The deserve it. And much more.


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