~ Gary W Goldstein
Most change is resisted in the beginning, but over time thoughts start to loosen and reform around new ideas. This is what happened to my idea of wealth and access to travel. Going to Honduras opened my eyes to different types of poverty, but my time in Tanzania solidified my understanding. There were many moments during my time in Tanzania where I experienced the loosening of my own constructed ideas whether from my own interactions or stories from other volunteers. One thing can be said for sure, the change that happened for me during this trip did change everything.
|Bagamoyo: A Community of Artists|
For this class I was joined by a new student, an older man who I had never seen before. He had heard in town that I was teaching English and thought he would see what it was all about. He was quiet throughout the lesson, standing to the side watching and listening. My other students were animated, pointing to various countries and practicing their new directional vocabulary. I talked about my journey to Tanzania and traced the route with my finger, and we talked about time zones and the Earth revolving around the sun. I was met with astonished looks and amazement at how far I had traveled and how long it took. But most amazing, however, was the realization that, "The Earth really travels around the sun?"
"Why did you want to come here," they asked. "When you can go anywhere you want?"
"I came here to meet you and teach some English," I replied.
They couldn't fathom why I would want to come to their little village when what many of them thought about was what life would be like if they could get out.
Suddenly the older gentleman began to speak, "I have a book shop right down the street. I have read many books about countries all over the world. I love to read about other places. But I know that I will never be able to see any of them. You are so rich that you can travel the world. I wish I could."
|Some of My Students|
There is not a time that I think about travel that I don't think about this man and how I wish I could have done or said something at that moment.
The man returned to all of my English lessons after that and was an active participant, and we never talked about wealth or travel again. He didn't really need to be in my class; his English was flawless, but I'm glad he was.