Tuesday, November 18, 2008

While reading Krik? Krak! I found myself noticing themes that connected each story. One such theme was the importance of remembering history. Danticat’s book of short stories is in itself a form of commemorating Haitian history. Each story in itself stresses the importance of remembering, and perhaps inherently provides a warning for what would happen if we were to forget. One of the phrases that most resonated with me was in the story, “The Missing Peace.” It is repeated a few times: “Write things down for posterity” (Danticat 107). Posterity refers to future generations. Danticat wrote her stories for posterity, so stories of Haiti would be remembered for generations to come. For her, it is for generations of not only Haitians, but of readers in general. I was very much reminded of They Who Do Not Grieve, because Malu is warned not to write anything down, and the grandmother in this story says “I already have posterity. I am once a baby and now I am an old woman. That is posterity” (108). This is also echoed later, when Lamort repeats the same phrase to the American journalist. One other example of writing to remember is found in the first story, “Children of the Sea.” This story brings a different twist on the matter, as the two characters are writing letters to each other that will never be sent. They are essentially writing the letters for their own comfort, either to commemorate what happened, to try to make sense of it, or both. The male character says of his companions on the boat, “I have many stories to tell you, and then they go on and tell these stories to you, but mostly to themselves” (14). Danticat’s Krik? Krak! is a compilation of short stories that ends up illustrating the power of stories themselves. I think her stories show that we must remember the history, the story, of those who came before us, or we won’t know how we got to where we are now.

I think this relates to my service-learning project as a whole. Each week, I would write about my service two times. For my Intro to Special Education class, which got me involved with my placement at Villa Maria, I would write observations after each visit. I would connect back to our textbook, class discussions, or just generally evaluate what I saw. I came to know a lot about myself and my own philosophies for teaching. I saw a lot of examples of things I hope to use in future classrooms, and I also saw some things I would never do as a teacher. Writing down the day’s happenings forced me to make sense of them. Not only will I always have a written record of this experience, but because I actually took time to evaluate my experience, I will probably never forget it.

The blog for this class has added a totally new component to my service-learning experience. I got to think less about the academic aspect (different disabilities, teaching strategies, etc.), and really consider the effect of what I was doing. Thinking about my service as a form of travel helped me to focus on the individuals I was with. I realized the human things I was getting out of the experience. This blog is actually a case of writing things down for posterity. We have recorded our experiences, service or travel, for future generations of Loyola students, or for anyone who wants to read them. The act of sharing our stories has given us more understanding and insight, as well as adding value to them as they are preserved for others to encounter as well.

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