Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The hand that gives, is the hand that receives

It's a beautiful thing to be offered lunch from people who have next to nothing. You are there trying to improve their lives and grant them the opportunity to give themselves a better future, and you realize that they want to help you in return, and they can, believe me they can. When we explained we had brought our own lunch, the teacher of MMweshi school - the school I am working at for the next two weeks - he replied, "The hand that gives is the hand that receives." Deep, I know. These people have so much to give, too. Maybe not materialistically, but that is not something our group lacks nor wants. Instead, they can help us - One Here One There - spread our message and grow worldwide, for I can guarantee their story will be one of great success.

I had the opportunity to speak with a girl I am quickly becomming very attached to. I believe I may have mentioned her in the previous e-mail. Her name is Ntwaki. She is twelve years old and one of the brightest kids I have ever met. From the first day of working on the computers she wrote that technology was the application of knowledge and use. Today, I asked her where she got that from. She said in our interview that her teacher, who she has learned so much from, helped her understand that. That she was once a very stupid girl who did not care for education and then she met this amazing teacher who showed her just how much she could do by knowing simple addition and reading english. Here, those skills go a very long way.

Of course, this insightful and inspiring interview didn't take place until after I was entertained by a group of singing and chanting girls. She was their leader. These girls have dedicated themselves to their school group, "Soul Buddies," which raises awareness about the spread of HIV - a big problem here - and encourages the kids in the community to make the most of each day and take full advantage of the education they are being provided. It is meant to keep kids out of trouble and in school so that they aren't continuously repeating grades like some of them are. I have seen men, not boys, sitting in a roomful of ten and twelve year olds because they cannot pass. They are too oversized for the desks and look so out of place. Can you imagine the humiliation they must have felt when we came?

I was so overwhelmed today, I don't think my enthusiasm will ever fade. I cannot express to you how proud I am to be a part of this group. The kids and teachers at Mmweshi are so receptive and smart, I am blown away by how quickly they are picking things up. We can have such a huge impact on their lives - and we haven't even touched on the what the internet is and all it is capable of doing. For instance, this girl, this insanely smart girl, who is so determined to help others in her community by being a leader and helping them with the laptops, can do far more than just help the people in her village. With her knowledge and motivation, she can dramatically change the lives of many through the use of the internet, and she doesn't even know it yet. I am so excited to watch her. She is my little helper. Whenever I need help explaining directions for a particular program on the laptop, I assign her to one table of children while I take the other. Together, I think we make a great team.

In one school day, a mere five hours, we taught a handful of children how to use the write program - similar to Microsoft Word - the paint program, and take photos from their computer. And do they LOVE have their pictures taken. I have a hard time getting far enough away from the children when taking a photo because they crowd around me as if I had all the candy in the world in my hands. I was showing a group of the younger kids from the school next by a picture I took of them on my camera. They swarmed around me. It was unbelievable. I made like twenty new friends without even trying. How simple it is to please someone who is happy with next to nothing. It is a beautiful thing to see. I wish you could be here with me to experience this. I could stay here forever.

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