Tuesday, September 10, 2013

If you want to travel fast, go alone. If you want to travel far, go together.

My sister, Miriam Kagol, has a neat habit of sending me good quotes.  Mim is an avid reader, and she zips great thoughts and sayings to me when she comes upon them and when she thinks they pertain to the work we do with Empowering Learners.   Every quote she has sent has put my mind to wandering.   This one especially!

If you want to travel fast, go alone.
If you want to travel far, go together.

This proverb is from the N’gambai people, and these words have been on my mind for a few weeks now.  In sending this quote, my sister’s timing was impeccable.  We had just arrived home from our trip to Namibia.  In every way possible that trip was a very special journey.  The days were filled with activity.  We made so many new connections, and affirmed and renewed previous friendships.  There were also some more leisurely hours in the North, when we had time to pause, spend time as guests, and just peacefully soak it all in. 

How fortunate we were – and how grateful I am.

In every encounter on this trip, as introductions were made and conversations shared, I tried deliberately to remember the important sense of accompaniment we’re committed to within this project.  Though I could not name it at the time … I can see now that I was doing an inventory of the many ways in which we’re traveling alongside our brothers and sisters in the ELCIN.   

Now in these busy days of fall, at the beginning of a new academic year, these memories help balance me just a bit.  I let my mind wander and I remember the ways in which we’re tethered to our treasured friends in Africa, and more importantly how they feel tethered to us, and to all of you, who help support this empowerment effort.  

And then, often when I am least expecting it but seem to need it most, an email or a text arrives from Namibia saying, “Grace and peace to you dear friends.  We hope you are well.  Say hello, and thank you, to everyone there.  Tell them we are grateful.”    

For me there is a sacredness in these moments. 

It could be easy to believe this proverb is primarily about companionship.  As a guest and as a fellow traveler, I can see and understand this.  Good travel partners are essential and I have had none better.

But for us, “traveling far, going together” has more to do with purpose, and the way in which we do our work.  What we do can only be done in partnership.  The ELCIN, their teachers, and their principals, invite us in to partner with them in what needs doing.  It is in this way that we travel far, and go together. 

Empowering Learners. 

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