They just don’t get it.

We were talking about South Africa and Kenya today in my 6th grade class and I got so frustrated.  We got to my powerpoint slide about the Kenyan economy and the first bullet was “80% of Kenyans work in agriculture.”

Someone asked, “Why are they farmers?  Why don’t they go do something else?”  We’ve already talked about the lack of economic diversity.  We’ve already talked about the effects of colonialism.  We’ve already talked about government corruption.

They just don’t get it.

They looked at me like I was crazy when I tried to explain to them how much Kenyans value education, how they build their own schools in places where the government hasn’t done it yet.  “Why do they need an education if they’re farmers?”

They just don’t get it.

Even the ones that seem to understand don’t comprehend why we can’t just fix it.  “Why don’t we help them?   Why don’t we just give them money?”  If only it was that easy.  I tried to tell them about different organizations that do try to go help.  I tried to tell them about One Laptop per Child.  “Why don’t they give kids in America laptops?  Kids here need them too.”

They just don’t get it.

I try to answer their questions, I try to be diplomatic.  I try to keep my own political and social biases out of my responses, but sometimes I just want to shake them until they understand.  I haven’t been to Kenya, or Rwanda, or South Africa, but I have been to India; I have been to Nepal.  I have seen

No matter how many pictures I show them, no matter how hard I try to explain, they don’t see.  They are so preoccupied with their middle class problems, with their own petty lives, that they can’t see.  I try not to blame them.  It’s not their fault they live where they do; it’s not their fault they’re 11 and 12 and have no perspective.

I just wish I could help them get it.  I just wish they would try.

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  1. Mom

     /  April 2, 2009

    Maybe God created us to “not get it” at that age in order to make it to our age? Think about it. Junior high for me was bad enough without having a better understanding of all the pain and unfairness and hopelessness of a lot of the world. Makes me think about Matthew 18:3
    And He said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Thought provoking.

  2. Molly

     /  April 3, 2009

    hey. you. i wanna talk to you. can we have a facebook chat date or something? and when we do chat, remind me to bring this up. and my blog. which you should read if you haven’t. i love you. a lot. a whole whole lot.


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