Blog, N4 Africa, N4 Mexico

Connecting Pen Pals Across 7,200+ Miles!

The N4 Letter Exchange connects Narrative 4 students in Nigeria and Mexico, creating a community of care that crosses beyond borders.

It is the irony of our times; despite the promise of instant communication through digital technology, many people feel more disconnected than ever. So in this time of social media, writing letters to a pen pal may seem old fashioned or even quaint. But this year, we’re proving how powerful writing a letter can be with the N4 Letter Exchange.

More than 7,200 miles separate Nigeria and Mexico. But this January, eight students from The University of Ibadan in Nigeria began exchanging letters with eight students from the Universidad del Noreste in Mexico. For three months from January through March, these 16 students will share five letters with their pen pals, starting with introductions and ending with their respective plans after school. In April, the students will finally get to meet their pen pal “face to face” with a virtual Story Exchange.

“Meeting a friend who is far away physically, through words is something magical,” said Maru Castañeda, N4 Operations Manager Mexico “You can imagine his or her world and have the curiosity to want to know more about him or her. Written stories are a wonderful bridge to create connections and unite hearts that, despite the distance, are closer than you imagine.”

“The exchange of letters cultivates a profound sense of connectedness and empathy,” said Joseph Onokpe, N4 Operations Manager Nigeria. “Each stroke of the pen on paper expresses heartfelt emotions.”

The N4 Letter Exchange came to be when a teacher wanted to connect his students with  students outside of his state but his school lacked the reliable technology to make a virtual  Story Exchange possible. He proposed a letter exchange with twenty of his students. We  made it happen, and all loved the experience so much that we decided to explore it on a  larger scale. The letter exchange has helped us create a community of care beyond borders.

Whether it’s with modern technology, or time-tested letter writing, our mission at Narrative 4 is to “create a global community where young people learn  and lead with curiosity, deep listening, and imagination.” We thank our friends at both universities for helping to make this possible.