364 Days in Sudan
THE PROBLEM IS NOT AVAILABLE
Goldie's Peace Project
The name of my business is Goldie’s Peace Project because it is my hope that this book along with my presentations on Sudan will, in their own unique way, contribute to bringing about a greater peace in our world. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of my book and audio recordings is given to organizations and individuals promoting world peace.
Organizations donated to:
Treacy Levine Center, Lynnwood, WA, "... dedicated to promoting understanding, bridging divides, and building relationships amongst people across religious, cultural, ethnic, and social lines through educational and experiential activities."
Camp Indralaya, Orcas Island, WA, "... a sanctuary of natural beauty and peace ..." where one can "... experience the interconnectedness of all forms of life while exploring individual and shared pathways to wholeness."
People donated to:
Baba Hari Dass, yoga master, silent monk, and author of several books. Notable quotes:
Chapter 62: The Problem is Not Available, Peace
Now I have a question to ask you: Can you imagine living in a land where the message of peace is exchanged thousands of times throughout every day and night? Such a place exists in Sudan. The first words the Sudanese say to each other are of peace. Al salaam aleikum means: Peace be with you, or, Peace be unto you, and they say this expression in the same situations when we would say, “Hi,” “Hello,” or, “Hey!” In response to this greeting, people say, “Wa aleikum el salaam,” and this expression wishes peace to the other person in return. Throughout the day and night I greet everyone--friends, gate guards, neighbors, shopkeepers, fellow shoppers, taxi drivers, neighbors--with, “Al salaam aleikum.” My greeting is always returned with, “Wa aleikum el salaam,” coupled with a sincere Sudanese smile. Of course, many times people say, “Al salaam aleikum,” to me first, and I answer with a smile and, “Wa aleikum el salaam.” I enjoy these constant and uplifting exchanges. Ma alsalaam means: with peace. Here you say, “Ma alsalaam,” whenever someone is departing a situation . . .
I welcome the opportunity to greet and send a person off with a wish for peace. Living in a land where the message of peace reverberates palpably, sincerely, and constantly throughout the day and night renews my faith, on a daily basis, in harmony between fellow human beings.
Chapter 68: Xenophobia and Thin Blood
Over and over again, in broken English, I was told by Sudanese Muslims, “I have something tell you. You change my opinion Americans forever.” In other words, I was told by countless Sudanese that I had changed their opinion about Americans for the good, forever. Since the Sudanese are aptly described as being “disarmingly honest,” I took these words as an honest compliment. Each Sudanese person who said this to me would approach me with the same, intense sincerity, and they stood with their face close to mine and looked directly into my eyes while talking to me. None of the Sudanese who said this to me knew each other.
The first few times someone expressed this sentiment, I was stunned. Before long, I knew what to say in return. I assured them, “I have many friends who are just like me, and there are many, many Americans just like me.” Each time I had this interchange I felt a renewed spark of hope that a greater peace in our world is possible, and it can be fostered and sustained by one interaction at a time.
Epilogue: Go in Peace
Several days later more disturbing news arrived; it was announced that the United States had made a mistake. The ostensible Khartoum chemical-weapons factory that had been bombed was, in actuality, a legitimate pharmaceutical factory.
When I heard this report, I asked myself, Do I really believe that a greater peace and harmony on our planet is possible? I knew it was time to reread a quote that I always carry with me. It’s written on a piece of paper, now wrinkled and discolored, which I bought years ago from a local calligrapher who was selling her wares next to Christ Church in Oxford, England.
Each time I read it, it restores my confidence: If there be righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in each nation. When there is order in each nation, there will be peace in the world.
The origin of these words is shrouded in mystery. At the bottom of my quotation it states, Very Old Chinese Proverb. I have read that it is attributed to Buddhism, or perhaps to Taoism. Other sources state that Confucius was the first to say it. It is also credited to the East Indian guru Sai Baba. What’s more, I have seen it intricately embroidered, framed, and hung on a wall in a Scottish home and titled A Scottish Blessing. From which person and from what culture it originated is not important. The point is to take personal responsibility for living the universal wisdom it contains.