Education maintains a different form in the eyes of every living creature- whether it be a mystery, an adventure, or a simple necessity, or even possibly a living hell in the eyes of those fortunate enough to be required to receive an education.
Sir Deerdarok looked at me with a deep passion, awaiting my first question of the interview. His eyes seemed wise and cunning, yet exhausted also. As I asked my first question of “Where did you live during your educational life?”, he gently answered with one word: “Everywhere.” I was shocked by his answer, then I realized what he meant. I pushed him on for a more accurate answer, and I finally got it. He went to school in a small African town, the place where he grew up. I tried to stretched this out even further, suddenly curious about him, so I asked about what he learned. He replied his education was focused around the regular subjects- math, literacy, social sciences, things like that, but out of school, his education was to learn how to protect himself and live alone. I saw his face suddenly change into a sort of sad, melancholy expression, and it seemed as if he was viewing the horrid darkness of the memories he had once forgotten.
“Sir, please, how did education shape your life?” I asked, trying to dig deeper, but weary of what I might find. It took him a few seconds to reply. He seemed more worn out than usual. He looked up at me, with care and concern in his eyes. He then said to me, “Without an education, I would be dead. I wouldn’t have learned about the things I now know, which saved my life. I learned English so I could escape my Hell, and here I am.” I was in a trance, his words felt like magic to me, as if I was there with him as a child, watching him as he grew up in his famined, diseased town.
I looked down at my paper, almost afraid to ask another question. I looked back up, and met his aged, grey eyes. He was shaking slightly, and twittering his thumbs almost nervously. I thought that maybe stopping would be a good idea, but a strange, new curiosity caused me to go forward.
“Sir, what is your opinion on the importance of education?” I feared looking up, hoping I wouldn’t meet his eyes again and witness more terrifying flashbacks. After a long period of silence, I dared to look up. He held a singed photograph, with blood splatters smeared across it, between his warn, wrinkled fingers. We made eye contact once again, and all my feelings just washed away, making me feel like a numb doll.
“Education can give you a life greater than you can ever imagine. I can give you work, a family, a safe home, and especially happiness. Through education, even the weakest, most fearful, pathetic man can make it to old age, and better yet, be someone important, and make life worth living.”
I almost felt like I’d start crying- I imagined him pushing his way through ash and blood toward the limp bodies of his friends and family. If he’d not been in school, he would have had the fate of his loved ones. Looking down at the bloody photograph in his hands, I saw his standing with his family- himself, his mother and father, and his baby sister. They all looked helpless and starved, but happy.
“When I lost my family to that raid, I went to school the next day. My home may have been destroyed, and my clothes and skin may have been burned, but my education meant everything to me- it was all I had left.”
I stood up shakily, attempting to forget the horrid visions, and thanks him for his time. And only as I shook his hand did I finally feel a sense of relief, and I finally saw a prideful smile…
- Title: Views on Education Illuminated
- Artist: xMsPanda
- Description: This was perhaps my favorite subject to write on in my Sophomore Year. The prompt said to interview an elder (parent, older companion, random stranger on the street?) asking them questions on their opinion of education and what it means to them. Since I don't have anyone to look up to, and I avoid approaching strangers in my area for... personal safety, the teacher told me I could "make it up" as long as it seems like something that is true.
- Date: 10/14/2012
- Tags: views education illuminated