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 Death 
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Me again. One more topic that I wish to comment on is death. Death in the Kilanga village was very common. With the drastic changes in seasons, from dry to wet, malnourishent, and disease it was surprising that more did not perish. However, it was so common that the Price family thought nothing of it. It became a show for them. They became immune to it. It never really hit home until it was one of their own who perished. We as Americans, or should I say, middle to upper class Americans have no idea what these people go through. We hear of wars, natural disasters, plagues, and diseases taking hundreds to thousands of lives daily in foreign countries but we barely even bat an eye. We here of people in our own country being murdered every day on the news, yet many times it is those people who society truly cares about. We become immune to death. We never hear of those homeless people who die daily. Do we even care? Is any ones life more important than another? We go to church every Sunday and learn that God loves each of us, none greater than another. I am taught to walk in his footsteps. Yet, I will mourn the death of a professional athlete and talk about how sad it is that he or she died, but think nothing about a homeless man dying in the alley way. We often think nothing of death, until it happens to a neighbor or loved one. It did not him home to the Price family until they lost one of their own. They begin to realize, that death has no respect of persons. It will come to us all. Just because we are middle/upper class white people, we are not excluded from death (and often pain and suffering associated with it).

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Dustin H. Farmer


Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:10 pm
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I agree with your statement Dustin. Just like the Price family from the novel, most of us hear of death everyday but remain unaffected until it hits our homes. I immediately thought about what our eyes and those of our students view everyday on TV and in the media. Hollywood glamorizes death and murder, which I think has desensitized us to the horror and pain. I, too, thought of the Black Friday trampling of the Wal-Mart employee, who was trying to help another human being, but people being human savages after the best deals thoughtlessly stomped his life away. Is human life less valuable than that big screen TV?

After reading this book I was intrigued to attend a worship service with the 410 Bridge African Children’s Choir. I must say that this experience really changed me. I listened to the stories of the 23 children from Kenya, who were orphaned because their parents either died from HIV/AIDS or some other disease, and sat in awe of their resilience and hope. These children came from the worst environments but were standing up in front of a group of people singing and praising God for all he has done for them. They shared their favorite scriptures and personal testimonies of all they are thankful for. These children have every right to be angry because of the loss they have endured but instead they say they are blessed. Boy, did I ever learn a lesson from them! I have thought about these 23 precious children and how they are like the children I see every day in my classes. Many of my students have been abandoned by their parents, face nights without food to eat, or have no idea if they are going to be awakened by their drunken father beating them. My school children need someone to rescue them and give them a sense of hope. This experience renewed my desire to create that safe haven for my students and to ever be thankful for what I have.

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Jennifer Blankenship


Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:02 pm
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Location: Appalachian State University
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Jennifer (and Dustin!) thanks so much for this conversation. So much of what the principalship can truly be when it is taken up as a job to be implemented in a thoughtful and loving way is precisely about the creation of HOPE! Hope sustained by safety, support, recognition, and learning that the world beyond our doorstep can be a wondrous place.

(To combat greed, could we ever ban brand advertising at school? I.e., if the shirt advertises a company, you can't wear it. If the drink machine has "Coke" written all over it, send it away.)

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Gayle Turner


Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:24 pm
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We really don't think of death, discrimination, mistreatment, or anything else of the like until it directly effects us. We hear of it, we know if it happening every day and give it a seconds' thought, then dismiss the thought as quickly as it came. So many of my students have already lost that hope too Jennifer. One who lost her mother suddenly, one who has a mother who is addicted to drugs, one who lives with grandparents, and many others who have broken homes. It takes books like the Poisonwood Bible to remind us of what is truly important and how we can directly affect the lives of those around us. We need to remember that creating that hope is not merely part of the job description, but should be a desire deep within us through our teaching careers ...administration careers...and throughout our lives.

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Deby R Johnson


Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:37 pm
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