On The Way To School: Things we take for granted

Some documentaries are for fun and others are both education and offer a serious reality check. "On The Way To School" by Pascal Plisson is a remarkable movie that features children in four different areas of the globe: Kenya, Patagonia (Argentina), Morocco and India. What it takes for these children to simply arrive to school is astounding. I cannot help but think of all of the "free range parents" who had their children taken from them by Child Protective Services because their kids went to the park or played (unsupervised) in their neighborhood. It's mind boggling to think of the many ways parenting and a child's freedom varies around the world.

These children travel upwards of 4 hours to school - alone. Sure, they may have the companionship of a sibling or fellow classmate but it's certainly not travel under the supervision of an adult. It's rather remarkable the survival skills each of these children possess in order to simply work towards an education.

As I watched this movie, I kept thinking ... if only there were more teachers or organizations (no, not religious ones) but simply teachers in buildings, huts or whatever who could make the trek a little easier. If only ...

The Kenyan children also had me thinking about the awful Americans who have been in the news. That woman who murdered a giraffe and called them dangerous and the dentist who illegally murdered a lion. The Kenyan brother and sister walked all the way to school keeping a keen eye out for elephants. Were they armed? No, they were taught to avoid them. If children can exist in Kenya around beautiful wild animals, why would Americans visiting the country (or any country in Africa) have the audacity to call an animal dangerous? They don't co-exist with them. They travel to them. That's like a surfer wanting to kill off sharks because they surf. Surfers knowingly exist in water (turf belonging to sharks and other majestic animals) and don't mind it. They don't promote the destruction of the habitat -- in fact, most are ecologically-minded people.

I also kept thinking ... their little legs, feet and hands from carrying their water. Goodness! Is there no other way to make things easier? It's amazing how we take for granted the energy expended by some to get to school. How these kids aren't so tired that they sleep through school is beyond me. They have more stamina than I may ever have!! Of course, when it comes to determination and survival, we do what we must. These kids epitomize that.

The journey taken by each of them is impressive. Their determination to receive an education in spite of the challenges they face to arrive to class is commendable. This documentary is currently streaming on Netflix but I'm sure it's available on Amazon and  youtube as well. Definitely check it out.

When you feel like you are having one of those "first-world problems" (my cell is almost dead, I can't find a parking space in the shade, someone forgot to wipe down the machine at the gym, etc) this movie will put that shit in check really fast.

Interested? Read a write up in The New York Times

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