Earlier this week I had the pleasure of helping surprise a much loved and respected colleague on her last day of 35 year career teaching primarily freshman English. Really, think of dealing daily with some 14 year old drama for HALF your life.
Delosie deserved more than a cake, she deserves the chance to enjoy a book not assigned for class reading. She was the real deal, an old school teacher with more tricks up her sleeve than thought possible. The kind of person you recognize that what they bring to work each day is part determination (see 35 yrs of FRESHMEN) and part magic.
As one of the few remaining teachers from our original 40 that helped build and open my school from the ground up, I have nothing but respect for the thousands of students that passed in and out of her classes. They are the better for being in the presence of academic greatness.
Monday night I was introduced to another person that six months from today I hope to have the chance to meet. As we were going through pictures from the most recent team trip to Michura, Kenya, one of our leaders stopped on a picture of a striking woman standing proudly among her students in an open-air classroom.
Beatrice is the villiage solo teacher and has organized a women's empowerment group. She has been a key player in helping the town communicate with our church's involvement and agreement to partner to build a clean water project over the course of 2012. Everything about Beatrice's inviting smile is a reason to stand her classroom and watch her in action.
As another semester has started and is rolling along uneventfully. I am back in my element doing all the routine things I can do in my sleep. All week in the back of my head I have wondered how much what I do everyday is not unlike what this amazing woman is also doing under the most different circumstances.
I have been working on drafting and editing (and re-editing) what essentially is my fundraising letter. I don't want to simply say, "hey I'm going on this trip, give me $" Instead I want to share the smallest of reasons why partnering with the amazing team of teenagers, their parents, other teachers, and our leaders is worthy.
Supporting me/us is also intentionally investing in the lives and well being of other families just like theirs.
Over the next 6 months we have a ton of work fundraising ahead. Already planned include a Mulch Madness event to spread mulch in surrounding neighborhoods yards, a food truck rodeo and tag sale, drive in summer movie event, and even a video game tournament (did I mention the teenagers on this team.) It seems like each idea brought to the table spreads into more connections. Lucikly between 2 summer teams there are 40 people to spread the work.
I cannot tell you how excited I am to to see this trip to fruition and most of all to meet the people in the Michura community, Beatrice being on the top of the list.
When I posted on my Mondo list that I wanted to find a church for our family, I never imagined where pew-sitting is taking me.
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