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Finding Your Velocity

May 11, 2012
My 12th grade students unwind on their lunch break during WAEC day three of five. I took these pictures on my way out of town to deliver their applications to Monrovia. Plenty prayers in the air that day.

My 12th grade students unwind on their lunch break during WAEC day three of five. I took these pictures on my way out of town to deliver their applications to Monrovia. Plenty prayers in the air that day.

It has been the most exhausting whirlwind 2.5 days I can ever remember.  I had the most proud moments and also some of the most difficult moments.  I am wasted physically and emotionally, but I think I’m pulling through to the other side.  I have to be.  WAEC is done.  The kids wrote math on Tuesday and will finish tomorrow.  I left about fifty EARTH University applications at the office to somehow make it to Costa Rica.

I left Sanni in a rainstorm yesterday and reached to Gbarnga just before dark.  Then I headed to Monrovia with Dani and Anjulie to plan our trip to Ghana.  We got here just before noon and spent the whole day at the office.  I talked to Vince.  I talked to Jason.  I wrote twenty more recommendations.  I was so brain dead I know they were bland and terrible.  But I tried.  I tried so hard.  And really, that’s all you can do here.  That’s all you can do anywhere.

St. Teresa’s is still closed so we’re all sharing one apartment at Tilda’s Guest House.  It’s nice.  Power, shower, TV that doesn’t quite work, for $90 split three ways.  I’m sleeping on the loveseat but eleven months in Liberia and I can sleep anywhere.  Four mostly sleepless weeks and I can sleep anywhere.

The EARTH applications, combined with the WAEC, both motivated and destroyed me last month.  But I couldn’t bear to say no.  My UN friends used to say I care too much, that not everyone is as good as me, not everyone deserves it.  But how do you draw that line?  How do you make that judgment?  …and risk being wrong?

So many people misjudged my brother Abe, misjudged my brother Ben, have misjudged and underestimated me.  Things are always more than they appear.  So many people have something inside just waiting to be tapped, to be set in motion.  Like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, they are strong and able but they need help oiling their joints.  Sure some people will use me.  Sure some people don’t deserve my help, but some people; some people just need to be set free.  A whole series of people helped me find my velocity.  I pray some of my kids are starting to feel their own.

After meeting the bogus WAEC man on Tuesday (surprised?) I visited my students on their lunch break.  They had just written their math test and their enthusiasm almost knocked me over.  Literally.  They spotted me coming and sprinted down the road shouting, “She came!  She came!  Our mother is here!”  They waved the test papers in the air and shouted, “Thank you!  Thank you! It all came!  It’s right here!”  Prince and Festus threw their arms around me, “Our mommy!  Our mathematical mommy!  Take a picture with your sons!”

They were so proud.  I was so proud.

Prince brought his mom over and we took a picture.  I shook her hand and thanked her for Prince.  She just held my hand with tears in her eyes.  “She can’t hear English,” Prince explained later, “and she was crying because she couldn’t speak with you.”  They all pulled me in 85 different directions to meet their families, hold their babies, or try their food.

We made the photo man rich.  “They will finish you, RB!” he yelled with every shutter click.  “No,” I smiled, “these are my children.”  I used to resent being called their mother, but the last few months I’ve gotten it.  They don’t mean feed me, take care of me, they mean that they know I care about them and they can depend on me, that I want the best for them.

I hope and pray that somehow they get it.


One Comment leave one →
  1. blondie permalink
    June 12, 2012 2:53 pm

    A most beautiful entry.
    What’s with the fake ‘waec’ man? What did this person hope to gain? I’m glad you weren’t hurt or drawn into something dangerous.
    Many congratulations to you and your children. Proud and happy for you all 🙂

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