On Bulgaria: Life Beyond The Wall, part 4 of 5

This is part 4 of a 5-part series On Bulgaria: Life Beyond The Wall. Need to catch up? Read parts one, two, and three.

Image created by: Diane Mora using Paper 53 Quote by: Pico Ilyer
Image created by: Diane Mora using Paper 53
Quote by: Pico Ilyer

Discovering My Life Beyond The Wall

Since returning home, I’ve begun to forgive myself for what felt like a defect in my ability to do good.  If we lack the capacity to critically self-reflect on our underlying purpose or the underlying beliefs that fuel our sense of altruism, we run the risk of imposing what we think is good without consciously understanding why.   This is not an insight that has come easily to me, but one that I work to remain vigilant of.

I’ve also realized that even though our approach is unrelated, Habitat and I are in the business of (re)building lives – we simply offer support through different systems. One is not any more worthwhile an endeavor than the other, both supports may be needed by any one individual.

And so it was that I discovered that the answer to what is mine to do existed well beyond The Wall.

Photo: Diane Mora
Photo: Diane Mora

“What is mine to do?”  One word, “Teach.”  With the possible exception of hospice volunteering, nothing yet surpasses the sense of purpose my life holds as it does when I am teaching.  Over the summer I had spent a month with an urban high school class of newcomers (recently resettled to Kansas City from refugee camps around the world).  I fell in love with those students.  At this point in my life, I can’t think of anything else I want to spend my time doing.  Little compares in its ability to increase the self-efficacy and empowerment of another person to the extent that facilitating someone’s learning does.

The Global Village trip to Bulgaria was not my first service-travel experience abroad nor in the U.S., but it will absolutely remain unforgettable for many reasons.  Not the least of which is what I experienced at The Wall.  But scaling The Wall has led me back to something I love and something that gives my life its sense of purpose.  For that I am deeply indebted to First National Bank.

This concludes part 4 of a 5 part series of On Bulgaria: Life Beyond The Wall.  Read what happens next in the Afterward.

Thanks for reading!

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Diane Mora

I am a writer (poetry, memoir, creative nonfiction, blogging) and teacher currently living in the Kansas CIty metropolitan area. A National Writer’s Project Writing Teacher Consultant, my method developing writing skills through the lens of personal narrative with low literate students has been highly effective with adults and secondary students who are migrants or refugees to the U.S. I have given many workshops about my methods to educators across Missouri and will be presenting my techniques to educators in Spain in September 2016. In addition to pencil-paper writing, I have also successfully integrated the use of digital writing tools such as digital storyboards into my practice. “I believe it’s not enough to simply tell our life stories. It’s important to also share a nugget of wisdom in our writing that might inspire or empower the reader as well as the writer. The concluding paragraph in every writer’s essay contains a “wisdom statement” that is based on something the writer has gleaned from his or her experience of living and now wants to share with others. When students are encouraged to think of their life experience as a learning experience, sharing this wisdom provides a sense of purpose that is highly motivating.” -- Diane Mora I can be reached at: Linked In: Diane Mora Twitter: @classroomwithin Blog: www.classroomwithin.org Full resume and references available upon request.

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