Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Eng 217 - Personal and Exploratory Writing :) My first homework assignment in over two years....
Pick one of the following prompts: 
1)Using vivid words and details, describe your personality. 
2)What is the best thing you ever did? (Most Honorable? Most effective? Most fun? 
3)If your mind where a house, what would it look like?

                                MZUNGU! MZUNGU, PHOTO ME!

I suddenly found myself totally surrounded by small, black, smiling faces. I made no attempt to get away, although if some fresh air had made it through the odor of unwashed bodies, I would not have complained. I never expected my slightly outdated digital camera to create such a response.

I’m not sure what I did foresee when I headed halfway around the world to visit an orphanage in Uganda. I knew I would be saddened by the poverty, the constant reminder of death, and the cultural differences. What I never imagined, was the fun I would have. Every morning for five days, I showed up at the orphanage and just played and played. I can’t remember a time when I have given so much of myself. The little girls literally fought over holding my hand, sometimes I had as many as five hanging from each one! The boys just tried to make me laugh, each one trying to out do his friends so that my eyes would focus on him alone. The older girls hung back, but a simple smile or word from me would cause their faces to light up with pride at being noticed.

With the language barrier, I needed someway to connect but was unsure of what to do. When I first pulled out my camera, it was for personal reasons. I wanted to remember the details of this new world around me. Of course, they wanted to see what I had photographed, and pretty soon the crowd of children around me doubled. Everyone shouting “Mzungu” (meaning “White person”) “Muzungu, Muzungu, photo me! Photo me!” At first there was some order. I would take a picture and then show it to the crowd, but I was quickly surrounded, lost in a sea of faces…I couldn’t even see sunlight! Soon, I was just snapping photos. I took as many pictures as I could, and each time I revealed a new one, the children giggled with glee at the sight of themselves.

With all the media coverage over the last few years, I knew that I would see physical hunger. But the emotional hunger, the need for the affirmation that comes with a hug, a smile, a hand or a picture…that was a surprise. It was also something I could give, a small way that I could help. I have never felt such a sense of purpose, before or since. Taking those pictures, holding those hands, being there for a short time, just to love those kids…it was the best and most rewarding thing I have ever done.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Day (Kind Of)

Today is the first day of school. All students know the first class is (at least in community college) a total waste of time. After going around the room and introducing yourself  ("Hi, my name is Stan  I'm here because I love to learn , let's see, something about myself, I love cats! ") you then have to sit there and hear the instructor read the syllabus (which you are perfectly capable of reading yourself), after 20 minutes of torture you are dismissed early, only to have to wait an hour and twenty minutes for the next class, which is the exact same thing.
Luckily, I had an out. Something thing even the strictest attendance gurus allow as a good reason to miss a day of nonsense. 

Jury Duty.  

Yes, I was EXCITED to receive my summons. I've been waiting for this since the day I registered to vote! Even now that I am here, sitting and pretty much doing nothing, I am still excited. I hope I get called for a panel. If I do, I'm sure all my faithful readers (if there are any) will hear alll about it.

Which brings me to my next topic - I will be blogging more. As I was saying before, I started school again. I haven't been in school for two years now, not since I graduated with my AAS (Associates in Applied Science). I have always loved school, not homework or tests, but learning and being in a classroom. It's one thing I have really missed, but I didn't want to get student loans for a university when I have no idea what I even want to study. However, the need for (free) health insurance has recently convinced me I ought to go back to school. So this time, it's about fun. What I want to learn, not what someone decided I need in order to graduate. What classes am I taking? Well, I'm glad you asked.  

ENG 217 - Personal & Exploratory Writing, 
ART 161 - Ceramics I, 
DAN 131 - Ballet I. 

I plan on having a great semester! I already picked up my syllabus for the writing class, and my first "writing exercise" is as follows: 
"Pick one of the following prompts: 
1)Using vivid words and details, describe your personality. 
2)What is the best thing you ever did? (Most Honorable? Most effective? Most fun? 
3)If your mind where a house, what would it look like?"

I love creative writing, so I am especially excited for this class. I plan on using my blog for homework practice, so stay tuned, I'm sure I will be able to draw from my ballet and ceramics classes for funny material!