I’ve been nomadding around the world for 23 years. I have one friend who tells everyone that I’ve slept around a lot. And I have. In huts, in palaces, in airports, in cabins. Most of those years have been filled with the joy that comes with connecting across cultures. Everyone should have a chance to discover the world, to embrace the differences between people, and to applaud the humanity that we share. So let’s get our kids out there, shout it from the rooftops, Twitter it, set up a Facebook page.
Yeah. Sounds easy and logical. So why am I buried in papers, phone conferences, contracts, mission and vision statements, building coalitions, making lists, writing fundraising letters, and millions of other things I don’t thoroughly understand. I want to be out on the street, in the schools, making fiery speeches, rousing the passion of people who agree with me and convincing the ones who don’t. (I got good at that back in the sixties and seventies.)
Without a doubt, young people who experience an international Gap or Bridge Year will come home with a totally different perspective on life, the world, and themselves, having shared food across kitchen tables in Thailand, kicked a soccer ball in Argentina, plowed rice paddies in Bali, herded goats with the Maasai in Tanzania. Compassion, camaraderie , tolerance, humility, love are the by-products. And oh, the things that you learn when you cross borders!! There is so much that other cultures can teach us.
Patience, Rita. Keep plodding. It will happen. Follow the rules, jump through the hoops, do what you have to do to make it happen. There are so many really great people in this with me. It can’t happen overnight. But it is going to happen. In a few years high school seniors will be walking the halls and asking each other where they’re going next year.
OK. Enough railing. Back to writing to foundations who will help us, to individuals who are volunteering their time, to organizations who will join in our efforts. It is going to happen; I know it will. Patience.