It’s crazy to me to think about how little I knew about Africa just seven weeks ago. Ever since this class began, I feel like I’ve been hyperaware to what gets said about the various conflicts occurring in Africa in the media. Even though there is so much more information I can learn, the amount of knowledge I have gained from our readings and class discussions is unfathomable. While I have learned most of my knowledge about these conflicts from reading, I am most impacted by talking to people and connecting with them.
Last class we had two visitors from Harrisonburg who are from Democratic Republic of Congo, Suzie and Paul. Suzie and Paul were kind enough to take time out of their day to share their stories with our class. For me, interacting with people takes away the distance between the topic and the situation. It is easy to read an article about conflicts in Africa and then push it aside, but when you are able to learn through interacting with people, who have witnessed the conflict, it leaves significantly more impact.
I feel like meeting Suzie and Paul a teaser of what is to come. This Saturday we leave for Phoenix and I could not be more excited! Even though my knowledge base is not complete, I am ready to connect with the content I have spent weeks learning. For the past several weeks we have spent hours grasping at the knowledge of the conflicts in Africa and now we are able to use that knowledge for service. We are at the point in the semester where we can finally connect the learning to service; Phoenix is where a majority our service learning will take place. I have no idea how listening and learning in Phoenix will affect me but I am so excited to continue my growth as a person and to share the stories that will be shared with me in Phoenix.