I was amazed when I listened to Martin Luther King, jr. saying: “If you can’t fly run, if you can’t run walk, if you can’t walk crawl, but by all means keep moving” in the Smithsonian African American museum.
I was puzzled when I read that in the Second World War, the US division of African American was separated from the rest. Louis Beasley, one of the highest ranking African American Chaplain said: “my job in this division is to keep these white folks and Negroes apart, in order that I can keep them together”.
I was joyful when we rented some bicycles in DC, went to Georgetown, rode by the canal and saw the whole city from a different perspective. When we passed by the JFK Center for Performing Arts, I remembered that one quote I have seen at the museum in Boston: “… our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
I was curious when I saw that people from so many different countries were able to develop a professional and personal relationship so easily. That is when I remembered the quote in Franklin D Roosevelt’s memorial: “The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation…it must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world.”
I was hopeful that we were able to find real friendship far away from home. And then Martin Luther King, jr. came to my mind one more time. In his memorial it is written: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope”.
I was sad when we had to say goodbye, but I am also glad that people have reasons to go back home, more things to teach, more things to learn. The farewell dinner reflected what we all think about this trip.
I am thoughtful now. I wonder what comes next.
Thank you all!
All opinions expressed by the program participants are their own and do not represent nor reflect official views from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, or of the Institute for Training and Development, Inc.