His path was marked by the stars in the Southern Hemisphere

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Today I fell in love with last year's winning story from Narrative Magazine's 30 Below contest. The relationships formed when you travel are profound in a particular and fleeting way, and writer Montana Ray captures that beautifully. Amazingly, this is her first published piece. The narrator is a young white woman in Uganda, which resonated with my own experiences in Malawi: the inability to communicate in a foreign dialect; cheap street food late at night; being called, "Mzungu"; cigarettes in taxicabs.

Mzuzu Academy opened its doors last week. I am bursting with pride and gratitude that seven of my students, all AIDS/HIV orphans, have received full tuition for the entirety of their secondary school educations. I am also filled with sadness that I could not be there on the first day of classes. If money were no option, I would fly to Malawi tomorrow just to give them all hugs and kisses.

Just yesterday, my dental hygienist wanted to know everything about my trip, and between teeth-cleaning and cavity-filling, she perused this very blog on the office computer while I offered narrations from my reclining chair. I was like a proud mama, and I do believe, when I think of the thrill I got from teaching and lesson planning that it's what I'm meant to do. Or maybe it was the purity and the joy of those children that makes me long forever to find more like them.


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