Wednesday, 10 September 2014

On Ebola

As writers we live life twice, like a cow that eats its food once and then regurgitates it to chew and digest it again. We have a second chance at biting into our experience and examining it. – Natalie Goldberg

I was teaching a class on challenging stereotypes and perception with year 8 this morning. I asked the class what perceptions they feel are projected onto them. A boy raised his hand and said, “Ebola". The outbreak of this word seemed to hold breath.“Yeah" he continued, "because I’m from Nigeria, people be saying I got this disease, like it comes from me, like we carry it, some people stopped opening their mouth around me… I’m not spreading anything”, and I can't remember what I said, but I didn't say, "Why does a bigger killer like meningitis, malaria, chicken pox, measles, even flu, not inherit this level of fear mongering?" I didn't say, "Some people's words are viruses!". Perhaps then, in this one classroom, I would have quarantined some kind of sickness.

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