They say ignorance is bliss, and in some regards, I agree. If Mer and I knew even half of what we were getting ourselves into when we said it sounded like a good idea to start a school, we would still be on our knees in our bedrooms praying for courage instead of inside this school building. Ignorance gives you courage you didn’t know you needed. The other day on the bus London really wanted to show her new friend, Iyana where her house is. She kept saying, “It’s that one right there next to my neighbors house.” Iyana joyfully accepted this information as if it was specific enough to understand and both girls were giddy with the feeling of a shared sense of understanding that neither of them actually had. Ignorance can be bliss.
But as easily as ignorance can open doors of opportunity, it can also slam them in your face. Ignorance perpetuates the cycle of poverty. And as easily as ignorance can lend itself to a whimsical kind of joy, it can crush you under the weight of its repercussions.
At UCA we have an antidote: field trips. When scholars go and touch, see, smell, and process a new experience based on classroom learning it cultivates this beautiful thing we call curiosity. Our desire is that a deep intrinsic curiosity is fueling each UCA scholar.
On Friday we went to Deanna Rose Farmstead. I walked into a Native American hut with a few scholars. Their ignorance couldn't have been more palpable. The following exchange occurred while our crew was huddled around a bison skin talking to a non-white tour guide:
Markel: You people ate all this meat up?
Tour Guide: Well this stuff is from a long time ago…
Bukhari: Ewwww y’all got Posion Ivy from that?
La’Kiya: (while giving the skin a hug) AHHHHHH this thing just burped. Can it burp?
I was fighting hard not to feel embarrassed. Not to kindly apologize and escort my well-meaning, but ignorant nonetheless, group of 5 year-olds far away from that poor woman. But the looks in their eyes stopped me from acting out of emotion. There was something happening in their eyes, a wild dance of sorts. They were soaking up a new experience, the world was getting just a little bigger and I could practically see the chains of ignorance crumbling on the floor of that hut (well at least the chains of bison ignorance). They looked alive. Ignorance spurred them to ask questions, to process life in a new way, to learn and grow those little brains we love so much. When we explore we are exposed to new realities and it changes us.
Every week we do this exploring thing. Not because we want kids to think we’re cool, not because it's convenient or easy, but because moments like this fuel the path to good stewardship of the brains God has so generously entrusted to us.
You can join a UCA adventure in person, go to the volunteer tab and send us a message. You can also sponsor a trip. Tickets to this little adventure cost $70, plus a little fuel, for a grand total of $100. That’s a small price to pay for 30 young scholars to experience the world in a whole new way that unlocks new doors of ideas and dreams. Through continued experiences just like this Markiel has decided he wants to be a farmer. A kid from the paved mecca of the city deciding that he wants to choose a different path makes us smile real big. Through exposure to new experiences, his life options have opened up and he is highly motivated to keep learning with a specific goal in mind.
You can also pray. Pray that God would place dreams worthy of His name in each of the UCA scholars' hearts. Pray that the team of UCA champions would faithfully nurture those dreams. Pray that in all things God’s name would be high and lifted up and that His beauty would be revealed more and more clearly in and through us.
We’ve got the best job in the world and are so glad you’re walking alongside of us!