Saturday, February 2, 2013

The World Is Calling.

It’s finally happened.

The culmination of all of my restless wandering syndrome had manifested in an offer from the Peace Corps to serve in Sierra Leone, West Africa for 2 years starting in a mere 138 days.

While I have some pretty proud parents, and that’s always a comforting thing, really I'm astounded with this responsibility that the government has entrusted me with. I get a classroom of 50 wide-eyed girls who have so much to offer the world, and I get to be a person who helps them get there.

There’s something sort of magical about teaching anyway, but it gets too bogged down here with standards and lesson plans and grading and bitchy parents or absentee parents. There are too many politics and you forget why you loved it to begin with.

But when I finally stopped reading the exponential amounts of paper that the Peace Corps sent me about everything from Malaria medication to menstrual cups (what in the name of God is that anyway? Besides revolting…) I finally let it all sink in. In the quiet that I so rarely let enfold me, I realized at the core of what it is that I get to do.

It’s so different living here than living somewhere like the tribal village in Africa that I’m headed. I always knew there was a world that I wanted to see. But these girls don’t know that. They know their tribe and maybe the surrounding ones. They know that they get married at 15 and then have babies. 1 in 6 of them will die in childbirth. Their lives are decided for them before they even have a chance.

But if they can read, if I can teach them how to open a book and make sense of the words on a page, they have a fighting chance. The written word is the great shining hope of the world. Even if for now they’re in the village, I want them to know that there’s a whole world out there to see, if they choose to.

I want them to go to Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Hermione. I want them to head through the phone booth with Milo. I want them to paddle down the river with Huck and Jim. I want them to ponder in solitude with Thoreau. I want them to think the thoughts that could lead them to recognizing their dreams.

I want them to want more. And they’re going to teach me to want less.  

Harvard should take some notes, there’s a lot of learning to be done here.

I can’t wait.