Jay and his friend Will have been studying Japanese their entire high school careers. Rather fluent, I catch them insulting each other or laughing at something in their second language all the time. This trip is something they've talked about for more than a year and they've worked hard to prepare for it.
When I tell people this, they look at me and smile. "Oh, how nice!" as if black boys aren't supposed to do anything with their talents. Jay is a gifted artist, Will does things with graphic design that are quite impressive. Why shouldn't they take their raw talent and turn it into something bigger and better? Why don't people have the same words of encouragement for black boys that they have for every other child that announces their dreams with grins on their faces?
I stood in the north parking lot of the high school yesterday morning watching the parents of the other 4 kids (6 of them in all) pick at their clothing and reminded them to take medicine and enjoy themselves. I told my two charges to make sure to "listen"... to absorb the culture with more than their eyes and tongues; to hear the people as they speak, to smell the aromas of the cities and towns and villages, to touch things, people, lives. I told them to "become Japanese" if only for 9 days, because this is their opportunity to see the place they've always wanted to see...FOR THE FIRST TIME, because subsequent visits will never be quite like this one.
As this is a field study, they are all required to keep journals. Jay will be writing, Will took his video camera and record his experience digitally. This is his first flight, so I'm sure there will be much to be said on THAT experience alone. They are being sponsored by the school board, so they will be giving a presentation on their visit when they get home. I will help them with the presentaion and can't wait to see all the pictures and video. Editing it all into something they will be able to show their grandchildren one day, will be fun. I can't wait.
Safe travels Jay, Will, Chris, Gabe, Dijah, Raquel and a special THANK YOU to Sensai Dawnielle for facilitating this opportunity for you!
Labels: mah peoples...