The Light - An Alumni Publication Winter 2014/2015 - Page 16

Reflections Reflections is the creative writing section of The Light and welcomes submissions of poetry and prose containing a cross-cultural element at MILK INTO BUTTER an excerpt from YFU alumna Monique Schmidt’s upcoming book about her experiences living and working in Rwanda from 2009 to 2012. Tightrope For my low-paying yet rewarding teaching read the note. It said, “It’s hard for me to learn from job in Rwanda, I pulled myself out of bed in the this book because I met similar situation. I need your mornings and went to the school, a blond white advice.” woman wearing a black dress with a multi-colored That was where it got absurd. The tall, black, flowered necklace and gray scarf. Generally, I had mother of three, genocide survivor was asking minimal makeup on and wore earrings. I stashed me, the youngish, privileged white woman, for my pink motorcycle helmet on the shelf next to the advice on how to get over tragedy I couldn’t even desk. To my students, I looked healthy, professional, comprehend. successful, and I always seemed happy. I went I went to the classroom and called Shyaka back for runs in the morning and had running water for to my office. showers afterwards. Life was good. A copy of the book, Infidel, the subject of the At the school, my cellphon e rang incessantly with morning’s composition class discussion still lay people wanting to know how to get scholarships. on my desk. The back cover of the book blared, One day, Shyaka entered while I was on my phone. “Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Shyaka: tall and black, a mother of three, a student Hirsi Ali’s story tells how a bright little girl evolves at the school. Shyaka was holding a piece of paper, out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, which she dropped onto my desk. She left the office, pioneering freedom fighter.” returned to class, and after I finished my phone call I Shyaka shut the office door and started to cry. 16 | The Light • YFU