Last week I had the exciting and heartbreaking job of telling all 200+ of my students that I am not coming back next year, that I am moving to Africa to work with the Peace Corps. Some said they felt like crying (I said ‘me too’), some looked a little mad, and others wrapped around me in group hugs. Through all of this I, of course, received some interesting and thoughtful questions, comments, and connections. I always love getting glimpses into how a kids’ mind works…and I thought you might too! Without further ado, I present: child’s musings on Africa!
“My mom did Peace Corps in Namibia. When kids were late for school they had to stand outside with a brick on their head.”
“My cousin lives in Africa. She brought me a beaded purse.”
“When I went to Africa, I went there to comfort the people.”
“Ms. Cece, when I went to Disneyworld, I stayed at this resort and there were giraffes and everything right outside our room! That’s the same as where you’re going!”
“I went to Africa once when I had a day off of school.”…..does this count as a connection?…
When showing pictures of schools in Mozambique, I asked students what they noticed that was different than our school:
“They are all a different color than us.”
“Their recess looks more fun…they get to spin in circles.”
“They have no walls and any rain or anything could just come in.”
Then I explained that many students don’t go to school past 8th grade in many places in the world, because it is expensive. I asked them how they would feel if school ended after 8th grade:
“I would probably be less socially active, because I wouldn’t see my friends every day. I would be at home in the fields or doing work that had to be done.”
“I would miss out on a lot of knowledge.”
“I would be bored”
“Did you know that cheetahs die if they run for more than 10 seconds?”
“Did you know that the most dangerous animal in Africa is not the lion, it’s the elephant?”
“I wish I was from Africa or could go live there.” (to which I replied ‘maybe you can join the Peace Corps someday!’ 🙂 )
“Whale sharks have no teeth.”
Questions, with answers in case you’re wondering too!:
“Can you use American money there?” > I will use the Metical when in Mozambique, so I will have to go to the bank when I get there and exchange my dollars for meticals.
“Can you say something in Portuguese?” > Eu nao sei (I don’t know) or Eu gosto de macas (I like apples.)
“Why do you want to move there?” > Tricky one….For my own personal growth, I want to move there to see what it’s like to live in a different culture, to live how many people in the world live -without running water and electricity-, and to learn what I can learn. I also hope I can teach people there new things about school and healthy lifestyles. One of my jobs there will be the share my knowledge and new things I learn with other teachers, so they can be more effective with their students.
“You’re going there to take them money, right?” > No
“WIll you be able to wear your normal clothes there?” > I will be able to bring clothes from here, but I will need to make some adjustments, like making sure my knees are covered and not wearing tank tops with thin straps.
“Are you going to start a library there? How would you get the books there?” > Maybe. I would have to probably raise money to have the books mailed there.
“If you don’t have electricity, how will you wash your clothes?” > With soap and water in a bucket.
“If you don’t have a cell phone, how will you talk to us?” > Email!
“Will Peace Corps make sure you’re germ free and healthy before you come back?” > Yes! I will have a medical examination before I come home to test for any weird stuff I may have caught there.
“If you don’t have a refrigerator, what about meat?” > Meat will probably be sketchy business in Mozamibique…I probably won’t eat much. But I might eat it if I am in the city at a restaurant with a refrigerator.
“How will you keep your food fresh without a refrigerator?” > I will probably go by the local market on my way home from work each day and get what I need, instead of going once a week like I do here.
And the most asked-about thing of all:
“Ms. Cece, what about going to the bathroom?”
“If there’s no running water, how will you go to the bathroom?”
“What about drains?”
“Are you gonna have a toilet there?”
And just for the sake of ending on more pleasant note, a few pictures from our last trip to Kenya and Tanzania!