|8:00 am definitely a big task ahead|
|the boys relaxing on our random collection of wood|
Then this weekend presented itself as the perfect opportunity. One of my best friends Michael Dolan just got married. Michael and I have been friends since grade school and I was supposed to stand up in wedding as a groomsman on Friday. Of course Michael and Emilie (his beautiful wife) knew of my commitment here and were extremely supportive of the work being done for these children. They are both elementary school teachers, so they understand the responsibility I have that requires me to be here. They just made me promise that I make their wedding weekend count for something, since I couldn’t be there to share in their celebration. So I took it as a challenge and opportunity to give the school something lasting while thinking of them.
|Our Saturday crew!|
|Our happy third grade farmers|
It’s hard to put into words the joy I feel when I look at our garden. I am so proud to see the children lean against the fence and smile looking at their trees. They are glowing with pride and ownership of what we have accomplished together. Today Alphonce, one of the boys who showed up to build the garden over the weekend said “I will never forget this weekend. It was the best and the food was good!” I told him "me neither, I am so happy that you are happy, it was the best weekend." Today we assigned a tree to every child in third grade to care for and water. They were so overjoyed they started to cheer and held their trees tightly before planting them. They were even showing off their trees to me and the other children saying “Mr. Terry this is my tree” and “My tree is the best”. Admittedly if you looked at our garden you may not see it as a masterpiece, but it is beautiful to all of us. Our trees are not strong yet and we need more plants, but all of us see the future for our garden and our children. We see what it will bring and represent from this moment forward.
Our garden may be a small addition. Our trees are only about a foot or two tall. Our garden is hardly going to end up in any Better Homes and Gardens magazine, but to us it is so much more. Now every child can look around our school and see their work and feel proud. They can imagine the fruits that will one day come from their tree, just like their work in school will one day bear “fruits”. They will grow taller just like their trees and become stronger like their trees together. One day when they graduate from Stella Maris, head off to Secondary School and eventually to college, their trees will remain as evidence of their presence and work in school. Every day we have an opportunity to make something great at Stella Maris and shape the culture of our school together. Every week we try to make our school just a little bit better and we are lucky to have the best students to accomplish this. We are so blessed at Stella Maris to have 116 students that love one another and love their school. They love their school so much and are willing to work so hard for their school. They don’t mind coming on Saturday, or spending hours working in the hot sun just to make their school a little bit better. I couldn’t be more proud of them, so even though I missed one of my best friend’s wedding, I know that the Dolans and all our friends in America are so proud of these children.
Check back soon for the St. Joseph groups thoughts (hopefully this weekend). Mungu akubariki na usiku njema!