Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Isn't he pretty? Oh, wait - he's a man, you can't say pretty! Isn't he handsome! I met Victor online through MySpace about 2 years ago probably. He wrote to me when he saw that I was a teacher, and we have been having intelligent and very heartwarming discussions and talks ever since.
One of the things about MySpace is that it always gets the bad end of the deal on TV and in newspapers. People talk constantly about the sex offenders, the haters, and the deceptive people on MySpace. Hey, I'm on MySpace, and so are great and wonderful people like Victor. Victor is a student in Nigeria who has suffered far more interruption of his education due to the conditions of his country than any one American student would ever suffer. Heck, the American kids think that if a professor is late for class that gives them the right to complain or leave the session! Please! I think there actually a little unspoken rule that you wait 5 minutes for a regular teacher and 10 for a PhD. At least they have to wait for me when I'm getting my water, or going to the little girl's room. Victor walked miles and miles just to go to school, and he was patient and waited for a very long time (many times) for there to be a lesson at all.
When I think of Victor in Nigeria, having to work harder than we do, having to wait longer, having to pray that his mail even comes to him before it is opened by officials or anyone who feels they have the right, I am floored by his smile, and his energy. He is always bubbling over online. He always has the kindest of words, and I know why - he was raised in suffering. He was brought up knowing that everything is temporary and he really doesn't know what can happen to it, to those he loves, to the world he knows - he is gracious, he is sweet, he is gentle, and he is honest. That's one of the things I found to be profoundly different between the students I am familiar with here in our country, and the students I encounter from Chad, Sudan, Egypt, Kenya, and the West Coast of Africa - - for them, study is everything! To learn is both a gift and a privilege. Oh, to have that attitude from every one of my students, I would still be teaching. They'd have to pull me out of the class kicking and screaming.
Thank you Victor for your heart and soul. Thank you for loving the world enough to be a part of its global community, to reach out to a teacher in America, and to become her African son! (Kiss your mom for me, as you always do when you see her. She is so proud of her baby boy, as I am of my own.)