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The Gift of Hope

April 20, 2012

Some days Samuel loves me. Some days I’m the white devil. Today was a good day. Love the Hungry Caterpillar onesie.

Holy busy week.  I’ve been up until one the past two nights working on grade sheets and am just over half way done.  Oh my god.  I was supposed to be done today.  Oh well, deadlines are very flexible here.  Today I was also supposed to submit practice WAEC questions, an entire test, to Mr. Demy.  That also won’t happen.  No one told me until Tuesday!  Oh yeah, and we still had class and study class.  I haven’t felt this overwhelmed since leaving America.  Jesus.  No one else in this town except maybe Mr. Demy is working this hard.

Thankfully today was a work day, meaning classes were cancelled so the students could brush the campus.  I had planned a small presentation for the 12th graders, however, and had to scrap it.  Our office met with EARTH University this week and they’re looking for applicants to come study agriculture on their campus in Costa Rica.  Housing.  Tuition.  The works.  I had to shorten it to a three minute blurb and tell them to come to the house.  “But come after 9:00!” I begged, “I’ll be up late doing your grades.”

I rolled over this morning just after 8:00.  “Shit.  They’re probably already here.”  I pulled some clothes on and peaked out at the porch.  Next door the generator was still whirring and a driver was washing a car I’d never seen, singing along to the radio.  I didn’t see anyone on the porch—phew!  There was a mass of people by the road, though, all clustered around yelling.  I hadn’t put on my glasses yet so I thought maybe someone was selling and all the neighbors had come to shop.

Not quite.

I unlocked the door and they got quiet and turned.  They were here for me, all forty of them, about half my 12th grade class.

Oh.  My.  God.

They waved and came over to the porch while I frantically organized the papers.  I’d meant to do it the night before but forgot.  I grabbed my U.S. News world map off the wall, “Who can show me Liberia?”  Someone came and pointed it out.  I pointed across the map to Middle America.  “This is where I’m from.  Who can show me Costa Rica?”  They stared bashfully and a few people mumbled, “…America.”  I laughed, “Close!” and traced my finger all the way back to the equator.  “It’s Central America.  Yes, an America but not the United States.  You are getting me?”  They nodded and I made my presentation, eighty eyes overflowing with hope and dreams soaking in every word.  I passed out three copies of the application and recommendation forms Pelle printed for me the day before and sent them in to town to make copies.  It would cost each of them about $2.  I wished I could pay it for them, but it’s way too much.

“A man can do without wealth, and even without purpose, for a while.  But he will not go on without hope.”

~ C. Neil Strait

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