Friday, November 21, 2008

The Whole Point.

"Time to schoo" popped out of a gentle knock on my bedroom door. Morning feet quickly shuffled away toward other duties in the house or field. I rolled on my elbows, and turned over in my sheets. I was already laughing. A mom, in a primordial Lao village, just told me to get out of bed or I'll be late for school. I had to slap myself and check for a Bon Jovi ceiling poster.

All night long, we'd taped, and we'd folded. We'd stuffed and we'd rationed. We'd get wound up and we'd imagine their faces. And their questions, and their confusion, and their playing, and their bewilderment at pink and silvery construction paper.

This morning we're driving a mile or so deeper down the same dirt road Mae Tao's house sits on. Justin's parents are getting dressed up, and the early sunshine feels brilliant. I can hear downstairs that Old-Man-Cousin has arrived in his snappy blue checked shirt. He is our ambassador today, and will introduce us to Ban Mouange Elementary School's principal.

On site it's dirt floors, brick and bamboo re-enforcements, a few long tables. We meet the teachers, and they're gracious. I unload medical supplies I'd bought at Target. Ice packs, band aids, Neosporin, anything first aid, and left it in the office. After some bows and Sabai Dees (hellos), it was now time to hand deliver 340 presents for absolutely no reason.

Each packet contained 2 colored pencils, some stickers, maybe a toothbrush and floss, a coloring book page, 2 crayons, and whatever we could fit inside.
There were 8 rooms. This is what it looked like:


and this too

Classroom after classroom this beautiful exchange happened, I Sabai Dee'd to every little voice, and in turn I absorbed every little prayer. This was pure joy and I was delirious.

The last room, a separate building connected to the "Library", held the preschoolers. When we walked in they gave us the best mini-chirped Sabai Dee in perfect unison. We handed them each new colored pencils, and a big batch of watercolor paints (THANK YOU GINA RAY).
We saw some of their drawings on the teachers desk while her baby napped quietly in the hammock attached to the wall. Their ability to interpret lizards, birds, and animals is levels beyond their age.

Having taken pictures, waived goodbye and thanked all of the students for letting us visit, we walked the front field to the road with titanium in our chests. How thrilling it was to be in the presence of spirits so strong. As we got in the truck, and tried to make a the U turn around ditches, Justin caught this shot of a young boy. And it tempered everything.

1 comment:

Another Michael said...


I always thought you were wonderful in Visqueen, but now i'm even more a fan.