Beyond the Clouds by Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, S.A.C. - Page 66

Are we aware that we live in a global community during our voyage in international airspace? Be it for a short time or many hours, whether we like it or not we have no choice. People of different nationalities, languages, cultures, and colours all seated next to each other! We breathe the same air, share the same meal, and use the same toilets. Even more striking is that we share the same destiny. Whatever our roots, we travel as one. I write this after having spent an entire day with my confreres working in Europe, though are originally from another continent. We spoke much about the challenges of international collaboration, as well as the importance of linguistic, cultural, and pastoral formation when living and working in a totally different environment from what we are accustomed to. Indeed, the challenges are many. Each one of us is rooted in our own culture and country; a core part of our self is constituted by such. The mother tongue that I spoke, the food that I ate, the friends that I had, the school that I frequented, the songs I sang are all essential elements of my personal history and personality, both individually and collectively. In the choices I make, in the way I perceive realities around me, and in the nature of my relationships, all very much originate from my cultural identity. Therefore, when one is uprooted into another culture and conditions, there is an inevitable death to a part of our self. Nobody will be able to do it without struggle and pain. For some it may be easier, for others it could be very hard. But nobody will be spared. I have the impression that some people do not realize this truth. Let’s say a person arrives in Europe from Africa or Asia. On many occasions, I have personally experienced that others thought leaving my country was a sort of liberation for me. They said, “Oh, so you are happy now! You eat well! You are fine now!” The implication being that I finally have good food and living conditions. To be honest, such comments can be very hurtful and humiliating. Perhaps they are not said with ill-minded intentions, but there is certainly a 66