Last Christmas Catherine gave her nephew, my son Ben, your stunning book about Nigeria and the oil industry there. I present world history, geography and international news to teenagers in a California middle school, and so I quickly borrowed the book from Ben to use in my classroom.
My students know the book inside out now and one of their favorite pastimes is to open it to the bookmarked pages and review in awe, once again, the intense photographs --- the village by the river almost engulfed in garbage, the bare-chested oil workers laboring in a petroleum-saturated swamp, the women cooking by the burn off of pipes, all of them. Your book has been my most powerful teaching tool in getting through to teenagers just what we mean by pollution or exploitation or selfish economic decisions made by corporations or degraded environmental conditions in third world countries. These ideas are no longer abstract to them because of your important work. Catherine knew you would be happy to know how moving your photographs have proved to be for young people, and how powerfully they have educated those in my school.
REAL School Marin
Many thanks to you - Catherine and Ben for sharing the book. Marilyn for incorporating the work as educational material for your classes and for your considerate letter. And, thank you to the students for the hope you bring for a better future through a more enlightened generation.
Saturday, August 22, 2009