So, here we are again. Trying to keep with my goal of trying to share weekly with you all, but this week I am at a lose, a lose of when and where to begin, not because I have nothing to share but more so how to share the amazing opportunity now in front of me!
This Tuesday, we traveled to Brantford to the Sanderson Center and if you are a twitter follower of mine you already know, but part of the amazing experience provide by Write to Give for the staff and students involved also entailed a draw for one Write to Give Teacher Ambassador to travel along side them in August of 2018 to Kenya, Africa. Suffice to say my name was drawn, now four days later I have been trying to fully absorb this incredible opportunity to bring it into a full perspective, but to no avail I am not sure I can absorb it, and given an entire year to gather myself, prepare and imagine what this experience can bring, not just for myself (as incredible as I can imagine, and have been losing some wake-less nights over) what I can bring to you all; my colleagues (face to face and digital twitter PLN friends), friends, family and most of all the students.
I am incredibly humbled and one could say numb as of now still trying to fully gather the emotional, life altering shift that this opportunity will hold for me! My life has always been directed and navigated towards supporting those less fortunate, more so those whom are physically and mentally challenged in some form shape or another; whether it be deaf, blind, wheelchair bound, physical impairment, mental / cognitive struggles…..the list goes on! Until now I never really thought of those less fortunate as those living outside OUR immediate surroundings such as those in third world countries. Now, as I reflect upon this week and being a thorough believer in all hard work pays off and life never throws you challenges that you cannot handle nor better yourself in some form or fashion, I have now been giving an opportunity to expand my horizon and experiences to date into something outside my comfort and ‘known’ world.
I cannot help but think in some manner that the world has a plan (as I have always believed, being an educated person makes it hard at times to be faith based and firm in that notion but, the simplistic notion that ‘everything happens for a reason’ comes in motion now). I may be wrong, but if so the world will somehow, someway alter my shift in reality and perspective to put in back on the correct direction and course, but this incredible opportunity will open my eyes and shift my life experiences in ways I cannot imagine! I think that is why I cannot and have yet to fully absorb this in its entirety!
A friend of mine told me ‘Make your mark, make it in stone so it will be forever embedded in time’. So, that always sat with me and up to this point I thought (am still do that my ‘mark’ is with MY kids and my students within my profession), but a small part of me considers that may be something that will shift my pedagogy, paradigm and understanding of all things will occur within this experience coming in August of 2018. Write to Give is a ‘known’ to many, and we ‘know’ of it through our experiences writing books for those in Kenya, but…..do we fully understand IT in its actual entirety? I think not, I think its much larger and being humbled and incredibly honored to explore what this really is I feel it would be, will be life altering!
The trip itself seems incredible, without sharing some of the details that was shared briefly I think back on an experience I had with my wife in Honduras almost seven years ago prior to our first child arriving. We walked into a marketplace off of our cruise ship and were greeted by three children from Honduras, they toured us through their village and even took us to their homes, school and brought us back to civilization afterwards changed people! With dirt floor homes, schools that were open aired without windows and the basic needs of clean water it was eye opening and enlightening as it was my first – first hand experience seeing and feeling what life is like in a third world culture for mankind. Talk about an awe inspiring, life altering event in my lifetime to date!
As mentioned I am struggling with absorbing this opportunity; but if I can relate its possibility to anything it could be this event in time. I am sure it will be so much more as well, but I reflect back upon why, as in why me?!!? I have heard for many, its well deserved, we hoped it was going to be you but being who I am I think its much larger then a right and or deserved notion, I think its somewhat meant to be as I can share this experience with everyone, anyone similar in fashion to the Canadian Icon; Chris Hadfield in his experience in Space and time on the International Space Station. Now I am no Hadfield, but I am someone whom enjoys sharing with others and learning along side others and reflecting also!
So, looking ahead over a year from now I foresee an adventure of a lifetime for us all, an opportunity to experience life in a new perspective in which none of us know nor understand!
A safari seems sweet and amazing but I am more so looking forward to seeing the school build by Teacher Aide and Write to Give; to see the community and the impact this foundation has made within this small piece within the world. Even more so, The ‘Mark’ the actual footprint made in time, in the history of events for these people in Kenya, Africa. The experience at the schools, with the staff, students and community and cultural shock is what I am anxiously anticipating!
I cannot help but think there is a reason I was sitting within that seat at the Sanderson Center, choose to do the program this year as opposed to last when I first heard about it and while sitting with friends, parents, colleagues and my students rejoiced when my name was called. At first I was somewhat disappointed it is not this August for this adventure of a lifetime, but upon reflection I think a year it perfect….I can and will challenge myself to learn and absorb the African Culture from afar in self directed learning, attempt to learn basic Swahili and gather more and more insight into the foundations at work. So, when it comes my time, when I step upon African soil overseas I am ready, willing and able to fully absorb and take the experience in its entirety fully and completely as I know that within my ‘belief system’ and understanding in life that ‘All things happen for a reason’ and the stars are aligning in some form or fashion for me, that this moment, this opportunity could be the one thing that allows me to gain insight into what my ‘mark’ in time will, could be, could bring forth etc…
So, in keeping with reflecting in mind; I will be exploring and sharing once a month what I have learned and gathered prior to leaving Canada on this journey of a lifetime. If you have anything to share, moments in time and experiences of Africa I would love to hear about them, absorb them and gather more and more insight! Please share with me, others and the world as we can and will have an opportunity to learn from one another and to gain a new perspective of life of those within other parts of the world.
Thanks, and check in often to see, hear more!