You all know how passionate I am about life-long learning, and I so practice what I preach. This past week I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my classroom assistant for this year. Ingy is one wonderful young lady who is very interested in the field of education. Not only is she my assistant but she is quickly becoming my insight into Egypt and the people. We spent a couple of hours just sitting and chatting about who we were and the best part of this chat was close to my heart.
I, personally, am tired of the hate being exhibited by many of the citizens of the USA. This hate is political party related, religious denomination related, race related, and it extends into so many areas I cannot list them all. I wish all young people in the US would have the chance to travel, truly travel and live in another country or two for an extended period of time. It would cause change. It would cause these young people to come back and share with the older populations. Living in another country, not as the ugly American but as a learner, would cause insight to happen. Often Jim and I meet someone and they give us the “I have been there” spiel, but they stopped for one portion of a day in a port or were taken places by a tour bus. They never lived among the people for an extended period of time. They did not sit down with a local citizen and have a thorough discussion. They did not live among the culture for an extended time.
As I talk each day with Ingy, I am learning a lot about the Egyptian culture and the tremendously loving people who are here. I have learned about the Muslim religion, the reason for the wearing of certain articles of religious related clothing, about marriage, customs, and what to expect from my incoming first graders who are all Egyptian. I am also learning a lot about the Coptic Christians as I have friends who are Egyptian Christians. I have learned about the views and reasoning behind the varied viewpoints with the different factions of people in the Middle Eastern countries. I enter stores by going through metal detectors and passing by a security guard and this is the norm. I do not feel threatened, judged, or afraid, no more than I do in the US. I do feel more secure as I go into malls, hotels, and here at the school. Even though we are coming back in a school van, we still have to go through a gate and then inspected with a mirror checking underneath the van. Do I see this as crazy, no I don’t. It is becoming my way of life just as it is for all the local people here. I am getting used to the work week that starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday.
Living here is different. Living here is enlightening, Living here is learning to love more people who are not like me. Living here is causing a more thorough living. Living here is expanding my learning. The other day I told Jim that I wished all Jessup students would have had the opportunity to study abroad in a very different community like the Middle East and northern Africa. It would have made for livelier discussions particularly in the religion and Bible courses. Oh yes, I mean every professor should have the same experience. It is different when you are on a mission as opposed to actually becoming a functioning, living part of the culture without a specific target or focus that can taint the view. I cannot of think but a few professors who have actually done that, and they were at SRJC and Sierra College.
Those of you who are young parents and a little older parents, and even grandparents, find a way for your child to live overseas in a country that is different from your belief system. Have faith in their abilities to reason and have faith in how you taught them and modeled for them. Let them live and learn. Broaden their worlds. Have them live the culture, not just do the quick drive by and touristy pieces.
Wow! I love learning! More to come on the start of this year as we begin Tuesday.
Living the Crazy Life,