Diversity and Inclusion

The whole Earth can be broken down into different areas. Cold in the north and south poles while being hot at the Equator. Dry in the deserts and humid in the tropics. Even during the span of a year, the weather has drastic changes as many as four times. Summer, autumn, winter and spring. All of them are vastly different. Every point on the planet has similar but different changes. The amount of rain or the lack of rain, every place is uniquely different. Some places have snow while others are dry and hot. Sometimes with humidity and sometimes without. The weather plays an important role in keeping it all together, with cold winds one way and hot winds another.

One type of vegetation along one plane and another along a different plane. Deserts in the middle of nowhere. Hot, dry, unforgiving and unforsaken strips of dry arid land. Dead ground that teams with life. All part of the greater scheme. The world as a whole needed the dry deserts and the hot moist forests and the ice caps.

Animals of all different species covering all four corners of the Earth. Different in every place. Bears in America, elephants in Africa, pandas in China, swans in Russia and kangaroos in Australia. Each animal adapted to live in its space. Tigers in the forest and cheetahs on the plains. The different fish in the sea, from a tiny minnow to the greatest animal the world has ever seen, the blue whale. All living in almost perfect harmony under the same water. Even then, the waters of the sea with so much salt, that us humans cannot drink it. The rivers getting replenished with fresh clean water from the rain and underground springs.

Water Lilies by Peter Weddall

Us humans are also spread out over the world but even then we are all different. In ethnicity, tribes and colour, even in mannerism we are not the same. The way we work, the jobs we do, the way we do them, the amount we get paid to do them. All the different languages that are in the world. In South Africa alone there are 11 different official languages and that is not even all of them. Every country has its own language and different dialects of that language. Some are so radical that the north does not always understand the south. And then don’t forget the art world. There is such a great diversity in the art world that it is the most scary. They have all sort of names and styles. Renaissance and abstract, modern and contemporary art. Names to confuse the masses, but ultimately just denoting a different type of art added to the huge diversity.

When we eat, do we use chopsticks, knife and fork, just a spoon or our hands or just one hand? We are separated by the way we eat and what we eat. Seafood or red meat, chicken or vegetarian. Is that a roast crab or fried elephant trunk? Is it in a wok, on a barbeque grill, a braai or slow roasted in an oven? Each nation has its own individual secret method of getting the most out of its own choice of food. Dried mopane worms or fresh wriggling eels. Frozen monkey brains or some perfect creme caramel. Pizza and pasta from Italy, fish and chips from the United Kingdom. Kangaroo steaks or Maine prawns. Lobster from Madagascar. The list is endless.

Fresh Vegetable Market by Peter Waddell

Every single thing can be broken down into being different. The shear diversity of each and every thing the whole world over is what keeps it all together. It is the inclusion of diversity that keeps the Earth as a whole.

And then after living and growing up in South Africa we came to China. We have been living here for seven years already and have seen such a diverse culture that it is almost beyond belief. The way of living, eating, speaking, mannerisms and outlook on life in general is just totally different. It is an amazing country and nothing like we expected it to be. It has been a really fun time here and we are hoping that it will be for much longer. We have seen all kinds of diverse weather from very hot and dry to humid and then the inevitable snow. It has really been a fun few years especially with the snow. We have learnt to love it, to hate it, and to live with it. I think we could do without it. It is just too cold for too long. But without a doubt we really do like living here. There are a few culture shock issues but nothing serious.  Some of it is just a misunderstanding as the language barrier is sometimes a problem. There is enough translation software around to address most problems, but sometimes the translate is not so accurate. Like every country, China is very diverse and it is that diversity that keeps it what it is.

Peter Waddell grew up in Kimberley, South Africa. He worked as diesel fitter and is now retired, living in China, writing, reading, cycling, exploring, taking photographs and married to a teacher

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