Thursday, July 12, 2012

Education is our Future

For those of you many miles away who might not have seen us or received word . . . we are all indeed home from Africa, safe and sound.  The trip was terrific in every way! 

As I adjust back to my regular work and summertime routine, I have wonderful moments when I catch myself day-dreaming about our time together in Namibia and South Africa.  I am deeply grateful for the vibrant friendships which are now only richer after our amazing time together -- and I am grateful for the new friendships I made – within our group and especially with our hosts along the way.

In the coming weeks you can expect to read more reflections here about our journey, and about the impact this journey had on us and our project.  Please know, this effort called Empowering Learners has life and a future.  There is significant work to be done and we look forward to sharing our plans, hopes, and dreams, in the days and months ahead. 

For me and for this posting, I will say that there have been some spoken phrases I encountered along the journey which ring out for me.  You can hear something once and it sticks with you, prompting a memory of a day or a place.  You then hear something recited or sung, especially by children, and the phrase turns haunting. 

So it is with “Education is our future.” 

This was something we heard many times in the North of Namibia, spoken by small kindergarten children and high school teachers alike.  Education is mandatory in Namibia, but not easily attained.  Remember those folks walking along the side of the road and we wondered where they were going?  Well, if there isn’t a town within sight, there surely isn’t a classroom nearby.  Schools are precious and learning is treasured.

Education is our future . . . this phrase grabs me . . . recited by smiling school children.  Do these little children have any idea how profound a statement this is?  Of course I believe this statement to be entirely true – support for education is part of my DNA.  And then I look around and marvel at what the teachers like Miss Helena at Pastor Henok’s Kindergarten are able to accomplish with so little. 

Our Luther alumna, Nampa Nengola ’98, who was active for years as “chief of party” in the Division for Education and Federation of Teachers, and who is now a leader in anti-corruption for the government, spoke eloquently at our Luther alumni event.  She was clearly moved by our efforts to bring educational materials to the North, and to her own high school, Oshigambo. 

“Namibia is a young country,” Nampa said.  “We have a knowledge-based economy.  Through education, we are striving to make our nation better for our children and families.”  She kindly called out Empowering Learners as the type of partnership which is helping to advance the fundamental belief that through education we all prosper. 

Amen sister!  Education is our future.  May it be so. 

Empowering Learners.


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