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Teaching to Win

Teaching is the most humane activity I know. To deny knowledge is to be selfish and greedy. Every day, I see ignorance among a people that do not yearn to know the truth. They experience it daily: corruption mixed with savage capitalism. All they want is to know is how to play so, they cannot just survive, but also enjoy the peace of mind of getting paid and paying bills on time. These simple pleasures I have always enjoyed only because I was educated and groomed to play a game my family already knew how to win.

Today, I visited a community center, Granitos de Paz, in the one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Cartagena called Oyala. It is not in the outskirts of town, but almost in the geographical center of the city. There are a mix of wood shacks and cement homes, asphalt and dirt streets, and open storm sewers filled with stagnant water and garbage. Homes have high cement barriers at the doors because in the rainy season, the whole area will flood. The children at the community center smiled curiously at me as they waited to play soccer, have a snack, or go on the internet. They fought to get the attention of their teachers, hoping they would see how helpful, skilled, and behaved they were.

I wondered if I was ever that cute, inquisitive, and impressive. When did I learn to win the game of capitalism? Who taught it to me? I guess I learned it in the beautiful suburban towns of my youth that had every imaginable resource: beautiful libraries, playing fields, streets, woods, parks, homes, and amazing schools. I was born to win the game because I had good coaches. My parents and teachers were humane and didn´t leave me to work to death. They imparted knowledge with a certain embedded morality that saved me from economic ruthlessness.  Teaching is the most humane activity I know. To deny knowledge would make me the savage I was not bred to be.


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