debvanpoolen.com

view-from-jala-rest-imagine you are a waiter in a restaurant which overlooks beautiful hills of your homeland.  you are thankful to have this job, but you are surprised that you find yourself struggling with some emotional issues as a result of this good job.  you live in a refugee camp which is very very poor.  many services in the camp are not functioning. there are often water shortages which result in failure of the sewer system.  in certain parts of the village the stench is unbearable.  there is no waste disposal service so waste piles high in and around the dumpsters just down the street from your home.  you and your parents came to this refugee camp after your house was bulldozed so that the people of the neighboring state could build new houses in place of those which belonged to your family and friends.  ten years ago you and your parents left your home village to live in a refugee camp.  

two months ago you began work as a waiter in a restaurant which grows its own organic vegetables.  the restaurant is especially popular with tourists who visit your homeland.  the tourists seem happy as they sit on the back porch overlooking the gardens below on the steep hill. they order big meals and drink beer as they watch the sun go down over the gorgeous horizon.  they are dressed in fine clothes, wear nice walking shoes, and carry bags made with very sturdy materials.  

you overhear the visitors talking about the beauty and also the ugliness of your homeland.  the visitors love the landscape and speak with disgust the soldiers who kicked you and your family from their homes.

one day you see a woman come to the restaurant by herself.  she smiles and is very appreciative of your service. she say it is her birthday.  in order to celebrate her birthday, she says she will make a watercolor painting of the wonderful view.  you long to talk with her, to learn more about her land.  you sense she longs to talk with you.  but you live worlds apart.  the divide is too wide to cross in one evening's discussion around a painting.  

you like the few glimpses of the painting you see before nightfall.