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Summer Reinvention: Going Home, Giving Back

Joined: 2/15/2013
Posts: 4
A week left in school and my teacher’s lectures smoothout into one big monotone. I’m not one to drift off during a school day but as summer approaches the green grass and blue sky out the window seems to impatiently whisper to me. Today I rest my chin on my knuckles and think of Sri Lanka. My whole family, being immigrants, used to visit Sri Lanka every summer. But then me and my sister's private school tuition got in the way and before we knew it, it had been five years since we took a plane half-way around the world. It’s been five years with no cousins to play with and no grandparents to visit on the weekends. I missed the weather that managed to be cheery even in the heavy downpour of the monsoon season. This time, flying to our tear-shaped island is going to be more than a vacation. My feet start to swing under the table as I think of how I’m going to make a difference this summer. I’m volunteering by teaching English in a poverty stricken area. It may be a tiny, miniscule change in relation to the larger world, but a change nonetheless. I recall my conversation with my English teacher about my hopes for this summer and him persuading me to find an article about the city I’m going to. My mind grounded itself as my teacher started talking about finals. Later that day I found myself with a free period at hand, so I loaded my laptop and searched, “Sri Lankan Civil War, Jaffna”. My search received several relevant articles about the affects of the civil war on Jaffna. I scrolled through an article.Phrases jump out at me like flying fish, sharp teeth and scales cutting to the bone. CHERRY RED SKULL SIGNS, LIKE LOLLIPOS, STUCK OUT OF THE ARID FIELDS, KNEW ALL TO WELL, RIFE WITH UNEXPLODED MINES. I kept scrolling down the page, and came across the familiar explanation for our 26 year war. “Whereas the Sinhalese majority is predominantly BUDDHIST, the Tamil minority is largely HINDU” I pondered, not for the first time, if fighting for a whole country instead of splitting in half was worth all the blood and death that followed. “70,000 and 100,000 people died in this TEAR-SHAPED ISLAND”. I realized that none of them were my close or even fairly distant family members. But I figured that almost every Tamil family has a story of loss and the trailing grief. I exited the browser, closed my laptop, and ruminated about what I had read. I bowed my head and silently vowed that I would learn something this summer, that I’d somehow add a deeper level of understanding about the world as I interacted with my temporary students. A river of possible knowledge and experiences exist in the days to come.I just have wade in the water with my mind wide open.
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Comment by Nate DeRose

Joined: 12/11/2012
Posts: 90
Congratulations, your essay has been chosen as a runner-up for the June Summer Reinvention contest.

Here is a link to the summary page:

We are looking forward to your future submissions!
Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013 8:00:02 PM
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