Welcome to the Global Voices podcast. In this edition we’re going to school. From extreme teaching on the Niger River, to hearing truths from our younger friends, and thinking back to some of the fondest or most memorable educational moments of Global Voices contributors.
So, what were school days like for Global Voices people?
An explosive memory
Paula Goes from Brazil is our multilingual editor. Here is one of her funnier memories from journalism school, where a “glow in the dark” potato-mayonnaise salad served at a superhero costume party caused a frenetic rush of students to the hospital, to the great amusement of doctors and passersby.
Everyone survived to laugh at the story years later.
Teaching the internet from a boat
In this episode we also have an amazing tale of teaching, boats and the river.
Eddie Avila, director of Rising Voices talks with Boukary Konaté in Mali about the Segou Villages Project that brought Internet to villages along the Niger River by boat. Read more about the journey that brought internet to 800 villagers and see Boukary's photos shared on Flickr.
An unforgettable teacher
Memories of school days may be closely linked to friends or enemies but they may also be related to places and of course teachers. Some say that it is both the best and the worst teachers that stay in your mind years after you have left school. Veroniki Krikoni in Greece shares a beautiful tribute to a time, place and a teacher.
These times of learning in our childhood can help to make us who we are today. Cyrus Farivar is a journalist, producer and author. He describes an impulsive moment in the playground that landed him in the most trouble he's ever experienced in school… after biting his friend.
Also recalling a formative moment on the playground, Juliana Rincón Parra from Colombia describes how she was forced to negotiate a minefield of gender politics in order to play a simple game of “house” with her friends.
How Ethan learned to type so fast
A boy named Ethan Zuckerman, who grew up to be the co-founder of Global Voices, tells how his struggles with handwriting in the 4th grade almost caused him to lose hope… until he learned to type. Fast!
Standing up to bullies
Having a hard time at school with teachers can lead to smart solutions as Ethan’s story proves. Unfortunately, some of us grew up surrounded with few friends and more enemies. Bullying at school is an international problem and finding the right answer is not easy.
One person who has suffered at the hand of bullies is Vuk. He’s a 12-year old blogger and son of Danica Radisic in Serbia. Together they explained what happened and what school is like under this type of pressure. If you’re facing a bully, don’t go through it alone and find someone you can talk to, he says.
Francois-Xavier Ada-Affana is a writer and translator and describes himself on his blog as “a nice Cameroonian finding his way in the world.”
He tells us how studying international relations in Cyprus, Greece has helped shape his views on history and education, opening his mind to new cultures and people.
The long walk to school
For our final story we have a journey. A trip into the past, and the 3 kilometre path that Victor Kaonga walked to school each day in Malawi as an 8-year old boy, often in rain with banana leaves as umbrellas. Today, Victor is a broadcast journalist. Driving past the place where he used to go to school, he says, “The distance remains the same, it's only that now it appears much shorter.”
Thanks for listening
That’s all we have for this edition. School and educational stories are a reminder of the things that make us so similar no matter where we are in the world. The thing that brings us together are those years when we were all inexperienced. Now we can look back and wonder at what we have become.
Huge thanks to all of our contributors who took us back in their lives as well as those who shared a picture of education today. I think we all learned something!
In the podcast you can hear lots of lovely Creative Commons music. Thanks to Mark Cotton for his fantastic creations and thanks also to all of the wonderful voice over performances and clips that help to glue the podcast together. The Global Voices Podcast, the world is talking, we hope you’re listening!