Tomorrow our students begin carrying water. In five gallon jerry cans holding only three. The cans will travel with them in the hallways, to the bathroom, across the room to the sink for a drink of water. They will learn to guard them, treasure them, hate them, deny them. Hopefully, they will gain a small perspective of what it would be like to have to carry water in order to cook, bath, drink.
We read The Long Walk to Water, by Salva Dut. The students learn, through Salva’s story, what it is like to travel miles, as a child, to find water every day. Twice a day. No matter the weather.
Empathy. What we want our students to feel, to have, for others less fortunate than themselves. Understanding. What we hope our students will carry with them when the last pages of the book are read. Appreciation. What we work to instill in our students as they first complain about, and then embrace the effort it takes to carry a fraction of the water and miles others do every day.
Tomorrow our students begin carrying water and more than that, we hope they will carry with them the memory of the experience and in some way, an understanding of a world so different from their own.