Photo taken after our very first teaching day in Tanzania at New Hope Family Orphanage!
The truth is, I went that entire first teaching day without knowing this was an orphanage. I'm not too sure how I missed that, but I did. We had a successful teaching day and as we walked back to our bus, that was forced to leave us several minutes away from the place we were giving classes, despite its most noble efforts in the sand, some of my classmates reflected on their experience. This was something that was so new them, meanwhile I had just gotten back from my fifth year doing this kind of work in Dominican Republic. And as one of students discusses her amazement at the novelty of it all, you utter, "Yea, this is just like the work we do in D.R. That's why I'm not like Oooh my God."
You immediately feel the weight of words suffocate you as you try to swallow them back whole. I felt like I had totally disrespected those children and the time we had together by acting like I was above feeling anything new. I just lumped them some other work I do for two weeks out of the year and robbed them of their stories. I felt wrong.
But the fact that it made me feel so wrong, made me realize that I did respect those children, and their stories, and the places they now occupied in my brain and in my heart.
I do respect you. And your story.
And the place you now occupy in my brain and in my heart.
Sitting with the children and one of the directors,
watching the other casts perform their plays.
Public Service Announcement: I know I look crazy in this photo, y'all.
I know these kids are looking at me like,"What the heck is this crazy Muzungu doing?"
But it was for the kids. So it's all good.
It was all for the kids.
For more information about New Hope Family Orphanage, visit their facebook page.
To read a piece I wrote about my first thought when I realized this was an orphanage, read Micro-Essay 3, under the Micro Essays tab.