Teaching and Learning

Last post, my final comment was a link to an article about a Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Bonga 40 years ago. The article was spot on.

(http://www.fbnewsleader.com/articles/2008/01/10/news/00newsaidtoafrica.txt)

The volunteer, Brenda Commandeur, taught English at a local school. She has recently donated her own personal money to improving the school (to the tune of 12 new computers and a brand new laboratory.) 40 years after she left, Bonga still remains a large part of her life.

In the article she claimed that these kids don’t have the privileges we have in the United States. She commented that what she was doing was not charity, but justice. She also said that visiting Bonga was more important that investing in a car, because it will change your life.

I feel like I myself have not changed too much. I still rarely wear a shirt, procrastinate horribly, laugh at farts, and hate the Dallas Cowboys. But my mindset has changed; my idea of what life should be has changed.

This is in large part due to the same feelings expressed in Brenda’s article.

The kids here have nothing save for their youth. A wonderful thing to have but something that is all-too-soon departed before it can be cherished.

So, inspired by the article, and partly because I love teaching, I have begun teaching English at three local schools. I teach some hilarious kindergarteners on Mondays. Next week I start at the Primary and High Schools, teaching conversational English. Teaching has offered itself as a mirror, comparing what I had and what they have.

I had everything. They have nothing. And yet, if given my seat in high school, I guarantee you anyone of these kids would have had a higher GPA than I did. So many of us Americans are given the chance of a lifetime.

I ask myself, What did I do to deserve the ability to travel the world, marry for love, go to college, and pick a profession I wanted? What did I do to deserve the chance to choose school over manual labor, an education over subsistence farming?

I truly don’t know, but to waste this opportunity is a crime. And that is how my mindset has changed. I hope that by teaching these kids I can give them the ability to dream outside of the town they have never left.

What I’m doing.

Its not charity. Its justice.

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