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My First Year with TechMissionCorps, pt. I: It's a Long Way from Watertown to Roxbury (with Cambridge in-between)

Written: August 21, 2006

I just got back from my interview. I'm too tired to write a coherent narrative. The subway/bus trip was about an hour-and-a-half total; Lord willing, I'll live closer in.

Seeing the difference between Roxbury and Watertown is striking. I was asked how I liked Boston in the interview (which I think went well) and I said "Watertown's beautiful...and Cambridge...then Roxbury" and I sort of trailed off. Graciously, she finished my sentence with "more concrete," which was a pleasanter way of saying what I was thinking. "Certainly different than the farmland where I grew up; Lancaster County is not a very diverse area," I replied. "Diversity" is a convenient word sometimes - if I come here, I will definitely change. I've been sort of passively racist all these years just from living out in Amish Country.

Over the past few years I've become more class-conscious than I used to be, though I still don't think socialism is the answer. (In fact, I can see exactly why it's not - external goods must be matched with the internal motivation, knowledge, and skills to make use of them. It's the old "give a man a fish, teach a man to fish..." problem.) I want to help break the cycle of poverty. Education is key; that's why I'm here.

I know how sheltered and fortunate I am. (I would say "just how" but I think I'll learn this truth more yet.) I'll always remember Brae saying passionately how rich we are and how isolated it makes us.

I'll know I'll never have to face the challenges my future students have had and will have to face. I admire those that succeed, and know I have as much to learn from them about life as they could learn from me about technology.

"It takes money to make money." How do we defeat the truth of that truism?