Dispatch from Rwanda

Former MATCH Corps Julie Ann writes about her lesson:

Then, above a second column I wrote the heading: "Rwanda in 2060." In EVERY one of my six classes, before I even said a word, there were audible responses of amazement. It's like they've never been granted the freedom to think creatively, openly, with no limitations. I think they really enjoyed it.

Most of them had grand ambitions for their country. I got a couple "It will be like heaven/paradise" responses, and Zainabu's which I just loved: "It will be like WOW."

But then there were also some pessimists. One kid was convinced there won't be any people because they'll all have died from AIDS. Yikes! Another girl said it "will be like Sodom and Gomorrah"!

Some predicted the traditional culture will be "destroyed."

A few very bright kids hit on the fact that I wanted to drive home: there will likely be a ton of people, and the same small land area. There are 10 million people in Rwanda today; I had the kids guess predicted population numbers for the years 2025 and 2050. When I shared the actual figures (15 and 25 million, respectively), an exasperated Jean-Baptiste cried out in disbelief, "Teacher! HOW THEY WILL LIVE?!" My question exactly, buddy.

There were some creative solutions to the population issue. More than one class said we'll all be able to go live on Mars by then (one kid was even pulling for Jupiter and Saturn). Some said they'll just move to other countries, so I tried to illustrate the concept of a brain drain. One kid said we can just invade Congo or even Uganda and take some of their land by force (I replied that personally I would not want to mess with Congolese soldiers). One of my real smarties raised maybe the most plausible answer, that everyone can live in high-rises, thus artificially creating more land.

I'm pulling for Saturn, too.