We’ve had no electricity since 6 p.m. yesterday evening. And the data usage ran out on my modem, so last night was spent mostly in the dark loading photos on the blog from the day. Loading on the photos took about an hour, and just as I went to load the last photo, my modem timed out. Blogging has become a challenge, but it’s therapeutic so I’m determined to do it. Evans reloaded my modem, Justin turned on the generator, so I’m good to go for about an hour until it’s time to go to the school.
Daniel, the headmaster, had told us there was a big celebration planned for the computer presentation, but I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. He mentioned a band and a parade through the streets, dignitaries that would be attending and speeches that would be given. But honestly, I was a bit skeptical. Not to take away from the amazing outpouring of donors for the computers, but I really couldn’t imagine all that hoopla for six laptops. And three mice. Of course, I’m learning to suspend reality.
It’s easiest to describe the day with photos, so here goes:
Yes, there was a band. The school drumline and some brass instruments, and yes, they were good. And the student with the big drum is one of our sponsored kids, Osei!
There was a parade. The entire school of about 400 children were waiting on the main village road when we arrived by taxi, and we got out and walked with them to the site where the celebration would take place. People were lining the streets, including the village elders.
We arrived at the soccer field (futball pitch) where three tents had been set up for the event: a main tent for the dignitaries, the schoolchildren on one side, and parents and villagers on the other side.
The town elders arrived shortly after we did. We had already greeted them on the street (it’s best to greet them each time you pass them).
There were introductions of the dignitaries, which included elders, the deputy chief of the village, regional representatives from the Seventh Day Adventist Church and other religious places of worship (see below), and school representative for the region. There were also pastors, and then quite a few other important people who stood up to be recognized. I lost track. There were four long rows of VIPs.
And there, front and center, was the ratty action packer I had brought the computers in, covered by a beautiful white and purple cloth. At that point, I really wished I had borrowed a nicer action packer, but I also knew that no one in attendance would care one bit. So I decided not to care either. I just sat back and enjoyed the program, which included poetry readings from the children, dances, speeches, and prayers. Two of our sponsored kids, Kadri and Beatrice, were in the dance group. And they did awesome. So proud!
I was beyond amazed, and what kept running through my mind throughout the ceremony was, “How on earth did I end up here?” Honestly, I don’t have a good answer for that. I just know that I am here. And until God tells me that I’m supposed to be somewhere else, a part of my heart will stay in this village.
It’s hard to express how grateful the school and parents are for these six laptops. When they pulled the cloth off to reveal the action packer, there was silence – well, African silence, which is never complete silence. It was just quieter. And then, we took out a laptop, opened it, and held it up. Everyone broke into cheers and applause.
It’s sort of like electricity. When it surrounds us, it’s just a backdrop to life and we don’t even notice it. But when we don’t have it, then we realize just what an incredible gift it is. I was humbled. Convicted. And determined not to leave them with only six laptops. There should be more. It is a school of 400 children. The teachers will have a challenging time using six laptop computers to teach. They will do their best and make it work, because that is what Africans do. But they need projectors and modems, printers and more computers. So, this is only the beginning of the SDA Computer Lab. The school will do its part to teach these children. We want to do our part to resource them well.
The generator just ran out of fuel. I’m going to end this and publish, and then prepare for our six sponsored children who are coming to the house after school. In all my frenzy to get the computers and sponsor gifts packed, I forgot to bring activities for today. And you can’t just invite six children over and not have something planned. So I have an incredible story to tell about preparing for the children, but not enough battery. TIA.
Until next time (not exactly sure when that might be), goodbye from Ankaase.