"Pay attention to what you do, for what you do may out live you."
I asked my friend David if I could quote him in this blog post. He thought it would be fine and he asked me if I was writing about art, since he is an artist. I said no, I was writing about supporting deserving students who need books and computers far away in Namibia.
This past week as I was tossing this quote around in my mind, the 2011 Books for Africa annual report arrived in the mail. The names of many friends of Empowering Learners are included in this document as a result of their giving to our container effort last year. Thanks all! The cover statement on the BFA annual report said simply – Education: the promise of a bright future.
Amen, I say!
All this prompted me (on a recent long drive) to do a little asset inventory of our efforts. As you know we’re raising funds to purchase and bring 20 more laptops and 50 calculators to the learners at Oshigambo Lutheran High School. These items will be added to 19,000+ books, 40 computers, and three sets of Encyclopedia Britannica – the happy result of last year’s effort to support the ELCIN schools. A robust inventory of educational materials and yet still not nearly enough.
As I drove, and in light of my selected quote, I pondered, will any of these very tangible and critically important assets out live us? Surely not. It is a very real fact that these resources will need to be updated and replenished, perhaps a few times over. I have long said this project is a forever thing!
But will the resulting impact of these materials out live us? Will the histories, languages, biographies, poems, reflections, data, vocabulary, story problems, math equations, and new universes discovered within these materials by the current ELCIN learners out live us? You bet . . . in the radiant life of each learner. And there it is -- the hope and promise of a bright future. The opportunity for something more for our brothers and sisters.
In my asset inventory I also think about the Empowering Learners Endowment Fund now established at the ELCA Foundation. This fund will absolutely out live us – all of us – all for the benefit of future learners we will never meet.
So we’re fulfilling some immediate needs and we’ve signed on to permanently endow our efforts. We’re doing both. It feels very right. It seems there is some real beauty in this symmetry.
Now I smile, since this may just be about art after all. Thank you for paying attention to our efforts and for helping us create something which will out live us all. May it be so.