We’re not in Kansas anymore

As I stood at the front of the class attempting to remember the Kriolu word for duck and filter my way through the chaos, I hear “quack, quack, quack” coming from the front row. For the remainder of the period, the room sounded like a petting zoo — filled with meowing, ribbiting, and barking. And I enjoyed every minute of it.

There’s something raw, genuine and pure about chaos. Everything is turbulent here — not rushed, frenzied disorder, rather a general lack of direction and no one to lead. For instance, during the second week of university classes, it is still unsure who will teach certain subjects, where certain classes will be held, or who will even show up to these classes.

I’ve come to appreciate this infancy, even when it blows up in my face. As I watched fifty kids attempt to tell me the Kriolu word for ant, I smiled — attempting to absorb the moment in its entirety. The room was bursting with excitement, an energy that is lost with order and formality. The students were ecstatic that they could teach me something new, that they had something to share with me. Everyone wanted a voice, everyone had something to say.

However, sometimes my optimistic outlook gets the best of me. After class, a 12-year-old going on thirty came up to me and said, “You know, you can just slap them when they won’t be quiet.” I laughed and said, “Really? In America that is unacceptable.” With her hand on her hip and without skipping a beat she said, “Miss Krista, you’re not in America anymore. This is Cape Verde.” Truer words have never been spoken. I guess it is time to pull in the reins.

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