Sunday, March 23, 2008

Echoes From Teaching.

Echoes From Teaching.
Just of recent I visited one of my students called Jen. She had been absent already for 18 days and I have been wondering if she was sick or something and so went there to find out. Thank God I went. I could not see the road address and mistakenly went to another house. As I was asking a neighbor, her mother and grand mother were coming in. The neighbor asked me if I was a police officer because she does not give information to police officers. I told her I was a teacher and wanted to find out about one of my students I have not seen in school for a long time now. I introduced myself to them and they called for Jen to come and talk to me.
While waiting, I was weeding the premises with my eyes. I saw garbage littered all around the yard as if waiting for a dump truck that has not passed for the past one year and may never pass for the next three years. I saw some dirt they have unsuccessfully tried to burn and others they told me they were keeping to exchange for recycling. It would seem they had a house but they were still homeless. If you did not see anybody around you may think it is an abandoned building or perhaps a haunted house that could be used for gothic excitement. Even the seats that sat outside seem incubators for typhoid and they were surely not immuned to bacteria. Then as the mother opened her mouth to speak my heart leapt out.
She was a 43 year old white woman but her teeth were almost all gone because she did not have dental insurance. Her teeth were variegated in a kaleidoscope of colors as an ancient Italian painting. Perhaps because she has made herself a human chimney popping out cigarette smokes as though her stomach was a tobacco manufacturing industry. She had the face of a grand mother in the body of a young woman. Her voice quavered and warbled like that of an unseen spirit.
Then she steered at me deep into my eyes from whose lips she muttered the words “thank you for thinking of us. I dropped out of school on my 16th birthday and my two older daughters have not graduated from high school either. I am hoping that Jen will be able to do it so that at least we can celebrate one successful student in our family. We really need to see someone graduate from high school too like other families". Jen bowed down her head and then took it up, looked at me and dropped it down again as if saying this burden is cumbersome for me. I looked at her and told her she could do it. Then she smiled, then grinned, and then bowed down her head again.
Though I have advocated for health insurance for all that day made that a permanent cry. I wept silently in my heart and wondered if this is the great America we boast about. I mean; the country where milk and honey flow. Billions are shipped for the defense of democracy (a system of government) worldwide but the people are deprived of basic amenities. Oh what a paradox and irony. Their situation reminds me of the great Tantalus who lived in paradise but was deprived of the bliss and felicity thereof. When poverty and sickness want to attack a person they do not look at their color. The Americans and people of the world alike must join their hands together: Light Skinned and Dark Skinned to make the world a better place for everybody.
I promised them I will pass by on Saturday to help them clean the yard and they were very happy. They told me there was a gentleman who had made the same promise but he never passed because on the day he made the promise he was drunk. I assured them that I seldom make promises but once I make one I try to keep it. Furthermore, I was making the promise out of my own volition and not under the influence of any substance. Perhaps my parents made a mistake naming me Hamilton they would have named me He Says and Does.

Until then, I wish them well.

Prince and PA Hamilton Ayuk

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