Friday, August 15, 2008

A dream come true

We were told not to be surprised if the children here don't smile that often. That Americans are viewed as people who abuse the right to smile, even when they do not mean it. I have come to find that despite what I was told, I have been overwhelmed with smiling faces each day I spend here. As bright as the children are at Mmaweshi, there is still a language barrier, but you don't need to speak the same language as someone in order to connect with them on a deeper, more spiritual level. Without the use of words, all you need is one look - one long look into the eyes of the stranger standing in front of you, and you can understand that we are all one in the same.

Yesterday was without a doubt the most productive, rewarding day I have had in a long time. From the moment we walked through the doors of Mmaweshi, I knew there was something special about that day. Our group was so on top of things, full of life and ready to review everything we learned the day before, and so were the children. I feel like the more I push them, afraid I may be asking too much, the more they seem to improve. They are capable of so much - their minds flexible, for they are still new learners. I had no idea we would get as far as we did, but they kept up so well with each new step into the programs.

After school, we introduced the teachers and Sara, the school principal, to adult-sized keyboards that hook up to the laptops. Hunched over, with the teachers crowded around her, Sara began typing their school address. We sat in front of her, watching her slowly pick it up, marveling at her reactions - she was so excited at what she could do. In the midst of the lesson, she looked up and asked for us to refrain from laughing at her for her slow pace. I could have sat there all day, content with the possibilities we were opening up for these people just by giving them a keyboard and a toy-like laptop to connect it to. Oh, the satisfaction you get by teaching something you consider simple by now to someone who is so excited to understand it.

As we began to pack up the car, Sara ran out asking us if we were going. She seemed concerned, but we already worked with the teachers in a workshop, and it was well past the time we normally leave. I told her yes and she explained that later that afternoon there would be a woman coming from Sobelo, the nation's radio station, to interview her and the children about our project. I knew this would be the perfect opportunity for me to sit down with the teachers and the students for the documentary, so I assured her we would return once we picked up Paul - we needed him to represent OHOT in the interview.

In the car, I prepped him for the interview. I told him what kind of questions to expect and how to speak appropriately with a journalist - he tends to give lengthy responses when he is explaining things - which would definitely not work for a sound bite. At that moment, I had a premonition that I was the press secretary/ spokesperson for some important NGO. I loved the idea - to be the liason between the press and the social entreprenuers. What a life that would be.

I couldn't have asked for a better interview. Actually, it was more like an advertisement than an interview. They said just about everything I could have hoped for and more - it greatly exceeded all of my expectations, and the best part was I didn't really have to do anything for it. It just fell into my lap. Keep sending your positive energy, there is definitely something greater than us on our side, helping us succeed.

Finally, our long week of hard work is up, and we are on our way to celebrate and relax at Kruegar Park - a trip I believe is well deserved. Hopefully we will see more game, and have an experience as exciting as the last.

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