Samuel Montoya, Teacher's Aide Intern
Time is funny, isn’t it? In the same forty minutes it takes to complete each class every weekday, one student could ponder how fast the class seemed to fly right by, while another, being continuously bored, could finally celebrate as a seemingly never-ending class had finally past. Time, it’s funny. It’s funny because we use time as a construct for everything. It was Einstein who once said, “time is an illusion.” An illusion that has overwhelmed our everyday lives keeping us going from one thing to another.
Time always seems to keep us in motion. Scheduled events of each day bookmarked by time stamps. Calendars of events earmarked by time frames. They say time is everything and that concept has never felt more real than these past couple weeks leading up to my inevitable departure from my MITS internship. As I count all my “maybe-last-times” to do something incredible, I’m reminded by my new Kenyan family that time is not as important as presence.
I can schedule meetings, plan events, organize classroom activities that all take time; but, when was the last time I planned a meeting just to talk with someone because I cared about them; when was the last time I hosted a social event with no planned endtime; when was the last time I scheduled a classroom activity that wasn’t just busy work; when was the last time I was present?
Being born into the fast-moving, always-going society of American life, it’s hard to be present with people. To be totally entranced by the moment that you forget (or ignore) all other time, meetings, schedules, and plans. If there’s one thing I learned while being here in Kenya is that you always have enough time to be present; you always have time to stay in the moment; there will always be time.
Sure, there may be a time when I go back to the states that I stop listening to Toto’s “Africa”; there might be a time when I stop trying to learn Kiswahili; there might be a time I stop missing the bumpy van rides to Eastleigh; and sure there might even be a time that I take my bracelets off that reminds me of the kids who made them for me. But what I’ll never forget is that time is just time, bracelets are just bracelets, bumpy rides can happen anywhere, Kiswahili is constantly changing, and Toto’s “Africa” will probably never go out of style, and being present with people gives them purpose. And when we give purpose to people, it gives them hope; it makes things...personal.
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