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You Must Surely Defeat

February 23, 2012

Yada Book

Yesterday sucked.  I spent the morning in tears, even up until it was time to go to school.  I told Krista I wanted to walk alone and hoped she wouldn’t take it personally.  My emotions were all over the place and I felt inexplicably sick.  I fought back tears as the kids ran to hug me and screamed my name.  I wasn’t sure I should be going to school at all, but there was no class the rest of the week because the kids were travelling to Bong County to compete in football, volleyball, and kickball.

Quizzing was supposed to go too, but sitting at the club I saw Festus walk past.  “You must surely defeat!” I yelled.  He smiled big and stopped, “In quizzing?” he asked.  “Exactly so,” I replied.  “Oh, but Ms. RB we aren’t doing quizzing,” he said.  I just looked at him, “Chaa!”  He shook his head.  “Three of our men can’t afford to go.”  I asked him how much it cost: $450LD per person.  I pulled my last $20US out of my wallet.  “This is enough, right?”  He smiled shyly and paused—this is always a nerve-wracking question to get from your math teacher.  “Ms. RB, it’s $50 too much,” (about $0.75) he said.  I pressed it into his hand, “Keep it for the team.”

I’ve been coaching them three hours a week for six months and we’ve never competed.  It is so worth $20 to see what they can do.  It would also be a huge boost for them and the school if we won.  They graduate in a few months and I’ll have to start over with new kids.  The 11th graders are good, but my relationship with the 12th graders is different.  I think part of it is because the entire year has been a battle of me vs. them.

The kids I’ve gotten through to are so grateful, though, and so bright that they are truly my pride and joy.  Fifty years from now I will still think about George, Festus, Garrison, and Prince.  They are all going to accomplish great things for Liberia but none of them seem to realize it yet.  They are so humble and hard working.

Prince sat on my porch one morning with an application for a high school scholarship for next year.  “What if I don’t graduate, Ms. RB?  I have to be ready.”  I laughed and grabbed him by the shoulders.  “Prince, if you don’t graduate there is no hope for your classmates.  I promise you will graduate… but I’ll sign your form anyway.”  He shook his head and smiled, “By the grace of god.”  Winning in Bong would give them a well deserved shot of self confidence.  And if they lose?  Well, they won’t lose.  They’ll be too ashamed to tell me if they do!

Prince (the one from our office) is driving up from Monrovia with my new documents today.  My wallet was rogued in the market Saturday so I couldn’t travel with the kids.  I have all my fingers crossed for some packages from home.  I don’t even care what’s inside.  I just need something… to break the monotony.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cathy Callaway permalink
    April 10, 2012 4:17 pm

    I miss you in the Museum, Rebekah, but you are doing such good! Thanks from all of us you do it for!!! Cathy

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