This is often true anywhere, but life in the ‘Corps’ is a real sweet n’ sour dish. Just yesterday I was invited to another school to ‘give spirit,’ which basically means I was to give a speech to the students; to motivate them. I didn’t have any classes of my own at my school, and after hearing about how poor these kids were and how few opportunities they had, I felt obligated to stop in.
I’ve done these gigs a number of times now and quite honestly, they all play out the same. I go in, give a short, impassioned speech about why such and such is important to better their lives, at the end of which I’m more fired up than my audience, and then it’s showtime, or rather, photo time!
Far too often I’m afraid, this seems to be the real purpose of these visits. I cannot tell you how many photos were taken yesterday, but I reckon there were more cameras whipped out than you’d find at a Milan runway show. Snap, snap, snap. You can’t always find a student with shoes on, but you’ll never be without a camera. All I had to do was stand there like a weathered tree, but by the time the last flash left my eyes, I was exhausted.
Despite the drain, I’m glad I went. I really get worked up at these things, because I know life could be so much better for some of these kids if only this, that and the other would change. After, when I come to the realization that these changes aren’t going to happen any time soon, it can be pretty discouraging. That being said, if there are any new volunteers reading this, please don’t fret. Smile, be sincere and do the best you can. There are always a few kids who are really listening, and while you may not always feel it, you’re doing some good. And besides, it could always be worse!