Thursday, September 23, 2010

Role model?

I'll write a proper post later about my trip this week, but I just wanted to tell this little story first:

At one of the schools we were visiting, the kids were especially friendly (and very excited about having their photos taken, even though they didn't smile for the picture).  They were hanging around and playing while we were trying to inspect the water tank our partner is building for the school, and one of my colleagues told me that the boys were teasing a couple of the girls (who chose not to be in the picture), telling them that they should study hard so that they could grow up to have a fancy job like me.

I never thought of myself as being a role model like that, especially not just by showing up, but it was really nice. So I told the girls that the boys were right, if they study hard they could get a job like mine too.  I told them my (maternal) grandparents were from poor farming families (these kids are pastoralists, but close enough, they can relate), but they worked hard and my parents were able to go to school and become teachers (which, besides nurses, is the highest status profession the kids come into contact with on a regular basis), and they worked hard and helped me get a good education, and now I'm a diplomat/aidworker.

So that's my happy little story for the day.  I'll write about the rest of my trip soon.