Later I got a bit emotional when Alan, a 9 year old who comes to LCM every week, asked Charlotte how much longer we would be coming. She answered "3 more times" and he replied in an upset tone "that's it? and then you guys aren't coming back?" This made me think of how hard it must be for these children whom perhaps don't really have positive influences around them or the support from another adult to whom they could really open up to...yet here they are, interacting with us for 8 weeks giving us a small insight into their large complex worlds. This is something truly admirable. A vivid demonstration of what Duranti explained in the article titled "Theories of Culture". We as undergrads are experiencing an invitation to be a part of a new culture while at the same time perhaps getting a better understanding of our own. By playing games with the kids, doing ice breakers, helping them with homework, interviewing them, laughing with them, making small talk, hearing their stories, and working on their Who Am I? projects, we are experiencing a new culture; their culture. Duranti argues that the term culture can be problematic because it is often used " to justify why minority groups struggle with assimilation and the merge of mainstream society". These connotations can easily be associated with a place like Orange Place, being a low income housing community, but the culture and knowledge the kids actually possess is something quite astonishing.
Alma Lomeli, undergraduate UCSD, Orange Place