Thursday, September 11, 2008


Tonight in class we read a story about Poverty.

The article is "What is Poverty?" by Jo Goodwin Parker.

Read it.

I just want to run off to West Virginia and give away money. Seriously.

After reading the story, I wanted my class to write a response, but I needed them to take a more creative approach to their writing. (They're writing research papers, so they're sick of writing.) I

I asked them to write about moments where they were enriched. I told them to find a moment where they felt poor--either in spirit or otherwise--and someone or something enriched them.

Their stories made me cry. It was so difficult to keep it together!

Helen described how she is the poorest student in class, and she can barely afford to pay her bills, but she knows that because she is getting an education--she is going to have plenty.

Ethel was a refuge in Ghana without anything and three small children. She told about how she and her children won visas to America and how long the flight was. When they finally arrived in New York her oldest was astonished to see that America wasn't encrusted with diamonds!

And Barbara--dear Barbara. She talked about how her father had died when she was 16 months old. She couldn't read her own story--so Zainab finished reading for her. She described how much she loved her mother. She raised 7 children by herself. Her proudest moment was when she graduated high school with honors--a tribute to a woman who had given up so much to make sure that her family thrived in spite of their poverty.

Ishmael described how much his daughter lights up his life.

I wish I could express how wonderful it is to be in this class. There is nothing like the laughter of a happy African woman. I cannot wait to visit Africa now!

Read the article. If nothing else, I'm filled with gratitude for all that I have.

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