Sometimes we pass through each others lives for brief moments, yet those moments can have a lasting impression. It seemed all to easy to lose touch with people after moving across country when I was done with college, but with the miracle of facebook, people began finding each other again. A friend from college, Beth, found me on facebook a while back, and when she did, I immediately heard her laughing in my mind, and then I heard us laughing together. Some people's laughter and humor you just never forget, and though it's been many moons ago that we were in touch, some things just don't change---even through facebook and emails, I still hear Beth's laughter.
Beth has turned out to be one my biggest supporters in this Peace Corps adventure, and before I left the states, she set me up with a teacher in NY to do a correspondence class with, which has been a highlight of my service so far. The other day I received a package from Beth, and in it were pictures of the Botswana wall Phyllis' class put up. I almost started crying when I saw what they did, the photos, the comparisons, the words. I went around going from class to class showing these pictures, and answering all sorts of questions from the students. It was one of the first times that half of these students showed enthusiasm and actually spoke. They wanted to know everything, and it was with delight that I answered every single question, no matter how long it took. They asked questions like why kids in NY would want to know about Botswana, and what I shared with the NY class. I told them how the class tried to make polenta, which would be the closest thing to porridge, and that some may have tried to eat it with their hands. You would have thought I was telling them the most amazing thing on earth---I had their eyes and ears glued to the Queens, NY class scene. It was beautiful to see! One class in particular wants to do a project for the kids in September and make their own American Wall. Usually things are torn down here the second something is put up, but we'll try!
Beth also sent some baby clothes for someone in need here. As I walked around the village, I saw a woman with a new baby on her back, and I had some kids ask her if she needed some clothing--the smile on her face said it all. I ran home to get the clothes, and when I was approaching her house, now with a slew of followers, I see her and the baby pacing the yard as if I might not come back. I showed her the clothing and she almost didn't know what to do. But it was the other villagers that just couldn't believe this event. They, like my students today, had such questions about the clothes, where they came from, who sent them, how they got here, is more coming, “I know more babies just born.” I was literally bombarded with people hanging on me and questions while standing at the watering hole--it was as if a Martian dropped something from the heavens, and they were all trying to figure it out.
Eventually, I always manage to get home, and thought how cool it was to share the photos, and the clothes---but as I sat and stared at the extra stuff Beth sent, namely really cool food items for me, I thought no way am I sharing this with the outside world—some things, like food from NY, are just downright sacred!
With so many years and miles in between us, it's the little things, like a package, or like the memory of someones laugh, that turns out to be so great---but for these people, Beth the Martian really shook up the world of Mmathethe, and what a fun sight it was!