Mary Anne Longenecker

As Interviewed by Vance Mader, March 20, 2019

Mary Anne Longenecker In Her Own Words

I had a student decided that she wanted to become an AFS student - American Field Service. So, I helped her with the test and we filled out all the paperwork 'cause she wanted to come and study her senior year in the US. American Field Service was a program specifically designed for that. So I helped her get everything she needed ready so she could take the test.

She took the text. And got her acceptance and she was ready go, and then she didn't come to school for three days. And I said to her Aunt, who happened to also be a teacher at the school, I said "Where's Pourini?" And she said, "She doesn't want to see you."

She said, "She's embarrassed; because all the work you did and then she got her placement but her family doesn't want her to go." I said, "Well tell her it's OK, don't have her miss school!"

Pourini came back to and I said, "It's OK! You know, if your family doesn't want you to go I'm sure they have a good reason."

She said, "Well", (Now this is a Buddhist country. Deeply, deeply embedded in the culture, in the spirituality of Buddhism.) When she got her acceptance letter, her family went to the Monk in the Temple and said "We want our daughter to have your blessing. She is going to take this huge trip. She is going to go to America. And we want your blessing." And he said "I can't do that."

And the Family said, "Why not?"

And he said, "It is because she's gonna go away and while she's in the US her father is going to die." And the father is sitting there. "She will have to come back. And it will be very hard for the family she is staying with and it be very hard for her. She should not go."

Pourini the student was telling me all this. Of course I understood what she was saying even though I may not have believed it. It was important because it's part of their culture. So I said, "It's OK, don't worry about it."

She didn't go.

Within three months, her father had a massive heart attack and died. Turned out, that yes, it was a good thing that she didn't go.