Thursday, April 7, 2011
I am thinking about childhood. I am thinking about wiffleball, Duncowing Road tag-football games, hide-n-go-seek, swimming pools, barbecues, sledding, playing RISK, WWF wrestling matches, Atari, and bike riding. I am thinking about going to school, weekends, visiting grandparents, doing homework, looking forward to snow days, watching The Waltons, talking on the phone with the long, coiled chords that we'd stretch to rooms for more privacy. I am thinking about going to the mall, sleepovers, little league games, fishing, roller skating, and jumping off the diving board at camp.
I am thinking about adolescence, at age 19, when I went to London. It was 1992. While I was visiting Shakespeare's home, learning the value of English pubs, studying literature with Carole Boyce-Davies, and learning independence, many of the youth I work with now were born into war-torn countries of Africa. While I earned my teaching degree, there were finding refugee camps where they would invent schools to keep them occupied. I was sending emails and they didn't have electricity. I am thinking about seeing THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY for the first time
And I am thinking about seeing war as a child. Watching destruction in front of me. Hearing gunshots all day long. I am thinking about walking barefoot for weeks without food to find refuge in a neighboring country. I am thinking about learning family members have been shot, seeing your mother lose children, and losing sleep at night from gunfire. I am thinking about enrolling in first grade as a 13 year-old and learning that there is such a thing as school.
I am just thinking. This is the noise in my head as I try to make sense of what it must be like to be enrolled in an American High School with so many memories from another place.