By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: December 28, 2018 | 3:45 p.m
When Cenethe Johnson recently visited Surry County High School, she opened the eyes of the students in Mrs. Hamlin’s history class to how different life can be for students living outside America. Cenethe, who currently attends Nansemond River High School as a junior, has been in the United States since August with host parents Rev. Edwin Goodwin and his wife, Vanessa. During her visit to SCHS, she shared information and views with the class about cultural differences between life in the US and Liberia.
According to Hamlin, Cenethe told the students about adjustments she has made to life in Virginia which vary from missing the spicy foods from home to her first experiences of going through a tunnel and of taking the ferry. She said that most people in Liberia do speak English and are Christians, but the differences between schools in the US and Liberia are vast. In her home country, children must walk to school, many don’t even have desks, and she described students there as much more respectful in school than those she has seen in America.
One SCHS student, Victoria Stripling, expressed surprise upon learning that in Liberia girls get married as young as 16, and are much more modest; they do not wear bathing suits, for example.
Cenethe also shared that Liberia is mostly inhabited by very poor farmers who live without running water or electricity, and expressed amazement that people here have heat and air conditioning. She said that she also was amazed that many people in the Surry community actually make a living by farming, and added that once she returns home in June she wants to continue her education and help her country advance.
Following her presentation, Cenethe’s host father remarked that SCHS students were very receptive, asked many questions and were eager to learn about Liberian culture.
SCHS student Raven Pierce said, “Her presentation made me realize how blessed I am to receive an education and appreciate the things I’ve taken for granted.”