Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Today we were all back together as a team. Harran was back in Ipalamwa after being away from Sunday morning through Monday night. So it was back to business as usual. We had breakfast, read our thought for the day and our journal and proceeded with our teaching through late morning. Shortly before lunch we joined the headmaster, staff, students and parents from the elementary school to celebrate the graduation ceremony and the festivities that followed. We sat through speeches, singing and dancing and later we were invited to the dinner honoring the students graduating from the primary school with hope of entering Form 1 in the secondary school in January. The students seemed proud. They enjoyed the music and the food as they were surrounded by the invited guests including our GV team.
An interesting observation was that children and adults alike either sat or stood throughout the very lengthy service. Our team members were unable to understand that was being said, but Mr. Kikoti and Mr. Macombe would translate for us. Some of what was being said dealt with school problems, school rules, etc. We were surprised to find that this had a place during the celebration. Perhaps it is one of the best opportunities to speak to the entire community about such a topic.
The dinner was quite nice. The menu included rice, beans, cooked spinach and chicken. Bananas were also served. Music played the entire time. Students stood up and danced. When our team members left the room where we were seated for dinner, I made another interesting observation. All the adults and children who were not a part of the invited guests were in the school courtyard standing around and eating. I saw rice on their plates. I am not certain if any of these people had gotten anything other than rice for their meal.
One last observation I would like to record is one that I have been making for days. Even among extreme poverty, there are different levels. Some of the children I saw today must be among the poorest of the poor. And yet they smile and play and interact. I can’t help but wonder what their future holds.

Thoughts For The Day:

“Go to the people. Learn from them, live with them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. The best of leaders when the job is done, when the task is accomplished, the people will say we have done it ourselves.” (Lao Tzu)

“A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.” (Emerson)