Monday, August 17, 2009

Life Lessons . . . from Africa

This afternoon I was at the school (Boosters season has officially begun!), and came across Miss Adams, Sarah's teacher from last year. Miss Adams spent part of her summer at a school in Tanzania, working with a local elementary school in a kind of cross-cultural partnership.

I had been looking forward to hearing about her experience, recalling what a formative experience it was for me the year I spent in Senegal, West Africa. And I was not disappointed . . . Like me, she had been startled upon "re-entry," finding it hard to cope with the variety and abundance of just about everything here. "At the end of every school year, we toss away more than these children have!"

My heart went out to her. I remember what a hard time I had with adjusting to life back in the States, and the guilt and shame I felt over my privileged status. The injustice of it all was hard to swallow.

However, I did have one advantage: I was returning to Bible school, whereas Miss Adams is going back to the classroom, trying to convey what she had learned to a classroom of first-graders. How do you get kids that age to grapple with such big questions? It's hard enough for the adults.

But then, Miss Adams is not your typical first-grade teacher. I look forward to being a little fly on the wall, watching her bring those life lessons ... to life!

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