In a post titled For a Better World & To Inspire I made last May, I described how one of the things I am endeavoring to do is “to inspire the next generation to follow their own dreams and effect positive change.” To that end, I have begun to seek speaking engagements at private schools.
I had my first “talk”/visit earlier this week at Little Angels College, where I spent about two hours with the A-Level students (Junior and Senior year high school students to North Americans).
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I started the session with a favorite song of mine, A Mi Manera, a Gypsy Kings’ cover of Frank Sinatra’s My Way, and ended it with my telling the students that I believe in humanity, and, what’s more, that humanity, I believe, is our best hope to save humanity itself!
I also described to them why I wanted to leave Nepal apart from to get a qualification. I described how the reasons had been to quench my thirst for knowledge about the world — to learn about the people and places on this planet.
I also described how in the process I had some incredible experiences most Nepalese — and others too — will never have or can only dream about, if at all! How I also met some incredible people all over the world, many of whom played a critical role in securing my freedom from a Qatari jail in May 2013.
And equally as importantly, how — travelling, living and working abroad — I had also learned a great deal about my self: about who I was, what I was, what I wanted to do with — and how I wanted to live — my life. How at some point I had realized that I had lived life in my own terms, and if, for the rest of my life’s journey, I were to try to make it as meaningful as it had already been, I needed to continue to follow my dreams.
My dreams, I told them, brought me home. I had returned home to work for the education of children from low socioeconomic backgrounds, similar to mine, to give them a shot at the kind of life I have had the privilege of living!
And finally, that they need to also follow their own dreams if they want to make their life meaningful.
The end of the talk followed a Q & A session which started, as expected, with hardly any questions. Nepalese children, especially when in the school premises, are not very forward.
After some exchanges with the teachers and after my goading them, challenging them, to ask their questions, after telling them that they could ask any question, that finally one kid raised his hand and asked,”Why were you jailed?”
I had deliberately left out that detail, knowing full well that every student would be dying to ask that question but wouldn’t because they would think that the question would make me feel uncomfortable.
So I asked them,”Raise your hand if you wanted to ask that question but were afraid to?”
Pretty much every hand went up! In other words, all of them — in their mind — had done the polite thing!
At some point, when I pointed out that only boys asked questions, one girl did venture a question and even contributed to the discussion, which lead to a conversation about UWC scholarships.
It was after answering the last question (“Do you believe in God?”) that I wrapped up the session with, “I believe in humanity…saving humanity!” Of course, the statement was tied to my response to the question!
I had a fantastic time prompting me to post the following on my Facebook timeline!
The children were great! My hosts Prabhat Sir and Anmol made me feel really welcome!
I discovered something too: I miss teaching! It’s been two years since the last time I taught a room full of students!
I hope to do more of these sessions AND I am considering going back into the classroom, albeit only part-time. What do you think about that?!
Any student and/or teacher out there interested in having me come speak at your school? Let me know!