Contrast

Writing 101, Day Seven

“George, I understand NASA has contacted you about joining the Mars program,” Stan said as they both settled at a table in the student union. “It must be your math degree that interests them most.”

“That, as well as the engineering,” answered George, smiling broadly, his eyes setting off his dark face. “Actually, I’ve turned them down.”

“Turned them down?” Stan echoed. “You’re joking, of course.”

“No, I’m not joking. The work would have been exciting, and I’m sure a bright future will be in store for whomever takes that post. But I have obligations I must honor.”

“What sort of obligation could possible trump the money and prestige of working in a space program, George,”

“My home country, Kenya does. I’m indebted to the people of my village. You see, they funded my education. Without their help none of this would have been possible.”

“Don’t you think having one of their own working in the space program would be enough. I mean, think of Argentina’s pride that one their countrymen is Pope.”

“Yes, but we are a poor country. We need dams and bridges, and factories. These are things I can help with that my people can touch and take pride in, more so than being represented in a possible Mars mission. What can they do with that? Nothing. Well,” glancing at his watch, “I’d like to continue this discussion, but I’ve got to scoot. Maybe we can pick this up,later?” George said, rising from the small table and heading for an exit.

Stan shook his head in disbelief, wishing he’d had such an opportunity.

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