Sunday, August 12, 2007

Susi Bonez

I spent a few hours this evening volunteering for the Taglit Birthright Israel Mega event. I was at the booth encouraging young Americans to swab their mouths to register for the Gift of life Bone Marrow registry. The few hours spent at the event resonated with me. Mostly because I haven't interacted with 18-22 year old's in quite sometime, also: I never realized that such a cause would be such a challenge to convince the younger generation to participate in.
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Granted, a plethora of them happily swabbed their mouths and filled out the information. I packed away their files in a cardboard box. After about an hour, I grabbed a few clipboards and tried to rope them in.
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One 20 year old American male tried to give me a talk. 'listen, dedicating yourself to bone marrow donation is a scary thing, people are afraid of needles, people are afraid of the procedure.'
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I put my hand on his shoulder. 'your argument works, but let's get real'. I started... then I realized this kid is some American Jewish kid that most likely hasn't paid his own rent yet. I just said thank you and walked away.
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As much as there were numerous cats who happily filled out their applications, there were a handful of kids that were still living off the high of being young and innocent. The last leg of their trip to Israel, they had alcohol on their breath and apparently not enough time to dedicate a moment to an excellent cause. I was simply fascinated.. and a bit sentimental- ein kleine reminder of back in the day.
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These kids believe that nothing will happen to them. They have no projection skills on life and what their DNA can hold for someone else. Or the infinite possibilities of what tomorrow will hold. They don't walk on the eggshells of life, grateful for their innocence. who does? I didn't at that age.
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I am such a Peace Corps kid when it comes to this. I can't get over it, I feel a bit sulky right now, that a teenager would be more worried about the procedure than about what the procedure means to someone in their community.
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It was in part that they were just kids. It was also that I couldn't get them to relate to me. I realized one dire fact: if I'm wearing a long skirt and cardigan those kids have no relation to me. If I flashed my ink and a bit of arrogance, I have no doubt they would have paid attention a little more.
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That's weird. but actually, very true.
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My favorite quote of the night: 'you don't look 27'
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Me: What does a 27 year old look like?
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Them: 'OLD!!!!!!!!!!'
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hmph.

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