Wednesday, October 17, 2007

There is such beauty in our dreams being pleasantly disrupted by the sounds of nature and shortly there after the human contributions of BBC news.
As we opened our doors the warm smiles slowly started appearing, both the familiar and unfamiliar. Roger and I, while walking, started unfolding some of the important elements of Ipalamwa—the classrooms, the students and the path that connected them to one another, as well as, opened the door for us to explore. Before joining the others for breakfast we got another opportunity to see and feel what lay in the hearts of the children. The singing in the distance grew stronger and stronger. All of a sudden, the unbridled energy was surrounding the grounds and capturing every mind, heart and set of eyes available. The children’s excitement clearly defines what learning is—a gift to celebrate the human mind.
When approaching the kitchen and dining area we were welcomed by not only Mama Toni’s beautiful smile, yet also the aroma of her amazing cooking. Her cooking continues to impress and satisfy us. Directly after the morning feast, “the boss”, Harran, started our day focusing on our goals. This one exercise was the 1st example of the unique and important team building day we were about to encounter. We were presented with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the different skills and strengths of each individual and what they were about to bring to this experience. The room started changing, we started growing. We had color on the walls and we were, second by second, getting closer.
Then Harran and Mr. Mheni began our first journey to share what this hilltop village had to offer. We visited the students’ dorms and got a glimpse of how the students’ personalities came alive with their personal belongings decorating their rooms. Each room surprisingly fit 30 -40 students. Since it was exam time we saw groups of students studying at the coffee shop run by the pastor’s wife, in the dorms and outside. We continued along the path (the same path that Roger and I had adventured on that morning) and Mr. Hammerton (also know as Mr. Tanganyika) joined us. What a pleasure it was to hear him speak of the history of Ipalamwa. His mother and father helped bring the 1st church here in 1949-50, which created the foundation of Ipalamwa. His whole family because of their talents and determination to continue to make a difference will always be a big part of the village.
During our short travel on the path we also saw some very important projects that we will be involved in—the raising of the pigs, the production of corn and the water project. The children walk everyday once or twice a day carrying water from afar for themselves and their fellow students to have water. Water is such an important part of our life and very necessary to survive. Yet it is also very important for the children to focus on school and keep healthy bodies. That is why it is wonderful to see the passion in Mr. Hammerton’s eyes when explaining the importance of the project.
We circled back to the rooms and began our Swahili lesson with our friend, Mohamed. We had a great time learning greetings, introductions, animals and human body parts. After our lesson, Harran and Mr. Mheni joined us to share the subjects we were to reach and give us time to start diving into our own knowledge to prepare the lessons. The room again was filled with something new, ideas, ideas, and excitement…
A few hours later we again found ourselves coloring the room with laughter and great conversation, something happened, we were no longer us and teammates but friends. We played uno (“moja”) into the night as if nothing mattered, except for the joy galloping around the room.
Then the night ended with a star gaze and sharing the activity of brushing our teeth while our shadows danced on the walls. We went to sleep embracing the day to come.

Thought For The Day:
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” (Jackie Robinson”)