Friday, March 31, 2006

Move Slowly

During these last four weeks, I have been giving an night class entitled "Where Will You Be....".

The class lasts three nights, and is two hours each night. I advertise the class as a way to help people define their goals. Actually, the class is really a vehicle for building the self-esteem of learners (students).

Why self-esteem?

Poverty, racism, colonialism, tribalism, alcohol abuse, and HIV/AIDS have decimated the self-esteem of way too many people here. I wonder if this is a common thread in third-world countries.

I am happy that I am here.

This is the place I wanted to be. I know that I can help -- I can share my enthusiasm and compassion, and even if its only for a brief moment, I can give them a little self-esteem.

I wish I could directly share with you, the emotions I experience when I interact with these wonderful people that have been taught to not value themselves.

Ever known a person that had been in a long-term
Ever known someone with
so little self-esteem
that they were unable to raise their voice to a
Ever known a human being
with not even
other person they can go to for
I meet these people every day.
I am afraid to move quickly when I talk closely with them
because when I do, they flinch
and my soul sinks.


Sunil said...

Hi Jay, I recently came across your Blog and was moved by the unselfish tasks that you have undertaken and your love for humanity. You have truly inspired me to do my best to help the poor and needy in India.
I am no longer at eFunds, I work as Sr. Project Manager @ downtown Minneapolis.
I will continue to read about your work and experiences at Namibia and wish you all the very best.
Sunil Arundoaya
Former eFunds problem child :)

Elizabeth said...

Wow...again. This post is truly beautiful.

I was like that, once.

My father would grab me by the hair, shaking me, shouting, "What's the matter with you, are you stupid?!" and I would meekly reply through my tears, "Yes, Daddy."

When my father moved too quickly, I flinched.

No more.

I am strong, proud, fearless.

But, it's taken years.

Anonymous said...

i remember clearly. 6 years as a PCV biology teacher in tanzania. i raised my hand to touch a female student's shoulder. she flinched and leaned away as a reflex to seeing a hand raised near her head. i was shocked.