Monday, May 16, 2016


As part of my new job I'm writing and editing stories about people who have nothing. About school children from South Sudan dressed in tidy uniforms who must sit on rocks or tin cans because their school has no desks.

I think about the white boards and the wired classrooms here — and then remember the school in Toura where Suzanne and Appolinaire taught: the cinderblock walls and wooden desks that you see here.

It's easy to romanticize learning, to say it happens wherever teachers are gifted and students inspired. But when children are cold or hot, when they cut their legs on the sharp rocks they've lugged to the school for seating, when they aren't even allowed to go to school because they must help their families in the fields — there is no magic there. There can't be until the basic physical needs are met.

I'm glad I have a chance to be reminded of this now, to write about people who have nothing. Because of the perspective they bring, of course, but most of all because their stories must be told.

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