Words By S.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Inspired By the Unlikely.

Filed under: Humanity,Life,Travel — S @ 4:06 pm

I received an e-mail from a friend who recently returned from a trip to East Africa. Something that I should be so brave to do, but that’s neither here nor there.

The e-mail chronicled her adventures and experiences – from the frustrations to the most inspiring moments. The most interesting part of the e-mail was the extremes – from being surrounded by uneducated adults unwilling to learn and better their situation, to meeting a group of children who were so excited to learn that, rather than take their winter vacation as scheduled, they requested school stay open so that they would have a chance to learn from a group of foreigners.

I think that what struck me most was reading about children who loved learning so much. The complete contrast of American children who jump at the chance to have extended time off from school.

I’ve heard that African children are amazing people in terms of their willingness and desire to learn – who hasn’t heard that story about Oprah and the girls from South Africa who wanted a school rather than a car or a shopping spree? However, to hear about it from someone I’m relatively close to makes the impact of it much greater.

It’s strange, really, that the most inspiring and amazing are the people that have nothing, and the people who consistently have the opportunity for greatness almost always let it go to waste.

It got me thinking, were I in school and I had been in a similar situation – having an opportunity to learn something from a group of visitors – would I jump at the chance to do so like these kids did?

Probably not.

But, why is that?

It’s certainly not because I don’t like to learn. I do.

I’m not particularly lazy.

Is it my culture?

But, how is there such a vast difference between these two cultures?

And, how many people can say that they would rather learn than have a vacation?

In about a month’s time, I leave for Eastern Europe. A place I’ve never been before, to relish in three different countries that I’ve only imagined going to.

I can only hope that I have as amazing a time as my friend did in Africa.


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