Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

(June 25) This morning I went for a walk to find food, this time in the other direction. I am really appreciating my newfound love for long hikes because it has taught me that a 20 minute walk one way is not far, at all.

I figured I would go the other way, the opposite of downtown, because I knew there was a restaurant there, and I hadn't seen that part of Kota Kinabalu.

This is what I found.

I was on back roads most of the time. I get stared at all the time in this country, but here I REALLY got stared at. Like, every single person stopped what they were doing and watched me walk by. I would imagine that tourists don't typically come this way.

Children running around, playing in mud, and garbage. Garbage everywhere. Buildings falling apart. People just sitting outside their homes. Doing laundry. Laundry hanging everywhere.

The children got a huge kick out of yelling "hello!!" Over and over again, laughing when I said it back. The only other English words these children knew were, "one dollar?"

People live here. See the homes built on docks, above the water? No yards. Just filthy water filled with trash surrounding where they live. I wish I could tell you no one lived in that house in the first picture. I thought it must be abandoned. But on my walk back I saw people inside and noticed the laundry hanging on the line.

And all of that plastic. I stopped in my tracks when I saw all of the plastic, just filling the river. Can you imagine if these people had a safe water source to drink from and they could just refill reusable bottles? If there was a big recycling program? If people didn't have to buy bottled water?

Seriously, as a side note, this is what our oceans look like. Maybe these people have to buy bottled water. But you don't. You can make the effort to not use plastic and to recycle the plastic you absolutely need to use.

It was like being back in the refugee camps, except these are people's permanent homes. One had a taxi parked outside. I tried to imagine having a job as a taxi driver, taking people all over, and then coming home from work and this is where you live.

I am so glad I walked that way. That is all, for today