Today is my last day in Quito; my flight leaves this evening at 11:30. after living alone in another country for a month, i can confidently say i’ve changed. i’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with children who have made me question how i interact with them and the decisions i make. i know now more than ever that how i act around children molds them. and this has changed me. so much has, so ill go over it in chunks to make it easy.
- so on this project, i was the only black person on the trip. this is important to note because it directly affected my interactions with others and the way i was perceived. i’ve done a lot of research on a lot of different subjects (such as black women, education, etc) and while i still know i have so much to learn, i know a lot. this experience was the first time i’ve personally felt excluded because of my race. i worked in a group of six tutors total, two were from michigan like me. they both would do things for the classroom and exclude me: they never took my suggestions into consideration and overall it made me feel unappreciated. i didn’t really think about this until this last week cause i was just like “they never want my help or include me”. as i was talking to my best friend, she was like “well you know that’s just how it is”, in reference to the fact that nonblack people don’t always want help from black people. and a light bulb went off- that’s why they didn’t want my help. so i went to ask them again if they needed help and the answer of course was no, and i made a comment that just because i’m black doesn’t mean i can’t help. and they both were shocked and one of the girls, was really really angry at me. after some careful thinking and the universe revealing the truth to me, I realized why i was excluded. one of the comments that was made to me during the meeting we had to have with our staff leader was that i acted like i was above everyone else. this reminded me of why Miss Buchanan was fired (the podcast by Malcolm Gladwell which i talked about in my Book Review ), because she was well educated, black and intimated others- they said she acted like she was above others; also known as being an uppity negro (which generally speaking nonblack people still don’t like). i realized that it wasn’t me that was the problem- it was how i carry myself that caused discomfort. to be quite honest, the conversation we had that day was full of a lot of lies (key signs of lying- fast talking and quickly changing the subject), but i gained some truth out of it- not everyone is going to like me and that’s okay. i just have to stay true to myself and respect others.
- only hanging out with those that respect me. i cannot make people respect me. for so long i have tried to prove myself to others and that i deserve to be treated with the same respect. and i realized that i am reiterating a stereotype by trying to prove it false. but i’ve gotten to the point where i understand that i will just only hang out with those whom display the respect i deserve. all others i will keep my distance from.
- I have learned the value of myself. I know that i am a valuable aspect to society and will help others. so i am worth the respect i desire. when i was high school i was really respected for my abilities in black spaces. but in white spaces i haven’t been. instead of demanding this respect from others, i will just keep it moving if it’s not there.
- my happiness is more important than the effects that i can have on anyone. i have to be in an environment that is positive and healthy. so this is why i’ve decided that i could defientely help this project grow but i need to be happy.
- listening to my body is so important and i realized this on this trip. almost this whole trip i have had issues with my asthma. overall i have very mild asthma but this environment has been toxic. there was nothing specific that makes it like this, but it is. in order to be the best i can be, i have to feel good. so from now i will always listen to my body, cause she told me i needed to leave before i got it.
- i’ve also learned the importance of music in my life. i love to sing. and i always am singing and listening to music when i am happy. but when i’m not as comfortable i lose my voice- i stop singing. i didn’t sing almost this whole trip. i did have a song i taught my class but besides singing that i didn’t sing at all. as of right now, i’m back to singing but i’ll defientely have to be more conscious of that.
overall i have learned that teaching is such a flexible profession and that you have to work with multiple professions. I also have understood that traveling is so much more important than i thought; it has given me a different perspective on things i need versus what i want, how i live my life and who is important to me. muchas gracias quito, por todo.