2004-01-09

I see now that what I had deemed “unimportant” isn’t, in fact, because it meant something to them.

The school where I teach had a going away party for me today. We sat around a table and ate sandwiches and talked, and then at the end, they handed me a present. In it was nice smelling soap, and my all-time-favorite African dress. One of my students handed me the wrapped present, and she was crying. Until that moment, I thought I faded into the background- that they actually didn’t care that I was there.

Most of all, I didn’t think they cared about the lessons I was teaching them. I’ve created a list of things they’ve learned in the time that I’ve been here, and it’s got at least 100 items that they’ve all managed to check off. Accomplishment. They’re so proud of themselves!

They went from students who couldn’t find certain keys on the keyboard, and have transformed themselves into people who know how to insert a table into Microsoft Word, and they’re even asking to learn how to make an email account before I leave.

I’m so proud of each one of them.

Today also marked the first day I’ve felt sad about leaving. Up until now, thoughts have been filled with me being excited to see my boyfriend again and to start a new stage in my life. I’ve become fed up with the nuisances that I experience in this country, and I’ve had a scowl on my face for the past two days. I’ve got 12 days left in this country, and I’m not sure that when I’ll leave I’ll feel 100% happy.

Again… the things I’ve taught these people HAVE meant something. I didn’t really see it before now, but it’s more clear than ever. I have touched their lives, what I’ve been teaching has been important, and I’m glad to have come to this country to teach computer skills.

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