Newtok … New-talk

Couple days ago, me and Tim (my videography teacher) went to Newtok, a tiny village at

Tony Homsy S.J., Alaska, 2014
Tony Homsy S.J., Newtok, Alaska, 2014

the Bering sea, Tim wrote on his blog about the purpose of this special adventure, here.

What we had seen in Newtok was kind of severe poverty, no trucks or cars, it is almost an isolated island, the only way to go there is by airplane, and it is expensive. Cold weather makes everything look poor, and life style is very demanding, imagine that you are obliged to use heating systems to survive, even in June! People there showed me the extreme different life of what we have in our ordinary one. 

I work on graphic design and video editing, I always tend to find an alternative solution, how I can solve a problem, like a blurry photo or jump-shot. It always allows me to find an alternative solution in my daily life, and moreover in my prayers. I live an easy and simple life, where every thing could delivered in one click, imagine how we book our flight tickets, or order anything we want on-line, keurig machines are the best example. 

But poverty is not lack of money, but lack of opportunities and options. That what I realized when we were obliged to wait two hours for our flight, we didn’t have any other choice, and when we tried to follow the patterns we used to, simply make a call, we where out of coverage… So we went back to the ancient greek time, I ran back to the town, asking about the delations, it was my Marathon!… A group of children told us that the flight could be postponed till the next day due to the windy weather, and then they continued playing like it is an easy problem, the travel agent told us that we have to wait for two hours because they change the routes… 

I return back to Tim, who set up our cameras to take a b-roll of the plane, where the airport is nothing but an open space… At that very moment I felt what poverty does really mean, I was poor, because I had no choice but to wait… our money can not find us an alternative solution. 

Newtok, taught me to be grateful and how I am blessed by the choices I have, and the money that I save because everything is available, where other not even pay more for the same item. I found myself like I am more like a kid who fed up with video games and complaining, while kids in Newtok have nothing but chase each other, or ride their bikes on the cracked board walk of the village…

Now I have a new talk that it is quit different from the one I used to tell myself… Be grateful for what I have and I am, and stop complaining if I miss the wifi connection in my room for couple minutes. At least I may have the same opportunity that I had waiting for our flight, and sit with myself instead of find an easy solution. like now when I finish this piece, on our way to Seward, so I decided to enjoy the beautiful nature, instead of fighting to find an alternative option. 

Tony Homsy S.J.

About Tony Homsy S.J.

Tony is a Syrian Jesuit from the Middle East Province, he is 29 years old and is the webmaster for his Province's website. After he graduated from University of Aleppo in Bio-chemistry department, he joined the Society, spending two years Cairo, Egypt, after which he studied philosophy and Arab Civilization in Beirut, Lebanon. He is currently a student at Creighton University in Omaha where he studies Digital Journalism and Computer Science. Besides studying, Tony spends time on photography translating to and from Arabic.

5 thoughts on “Newtok … New-talk

  1. I know what you mean about that wait for the plane. Indeed, it really did bring what poverty really means into focus. It isn’t simply about money, it is about opportunity. You are very perceptive, Tony.

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