I presented the $800 fundraising money to the Rio Blanco school committee at 3 pm today. I wrote a letter and had it translated into Spanish by Catalina, the English teacher, explaining that my trip to Canada was primarily focused on seeing my children, but also on fundraising money to finish the kitchen. I asked Adriana (the dairy farmer's wife) who is on the school committee to read it for me, just so there was no misunderstanding with my intentions (I didn't want my poor Spanish accent to get in the way). I think they were in shock at first, then the tears started to flow, and the hugs and then sheer joy and excitement. We talked for over two hours about all the possibilities. We discussed what was priority and made a list... it was clear that although $800 is a large amount, it doesn't go all that far afterall. But every bit helps. Based on their expressed gratitude, you would have thought it was a million dollars. So with each paragraph that was read, Adriana had to stop reading because there was so much excitement and so many questions. Adriana politely asked them to wait until she read the whole letter or she would never get through it. They all laughed and listened intently: biting their lips, shaking their heads in disbelief, twirling their scarves as a means to calm themselves . The letter then mentioned my affiliation with my friend, Steve, who lives and teaches in California and who also happens to be a member of the Rotary Club in his town. He and I are working to create an on-going project where high-speed internet and computers would be hooked up for the kids to connect to other kids from all over the world, and then maybe a student exchange program. It's still early days, but we hope to implement an educational program that will have impact. Well, more tears flowed. Everyone is super pumped about getting the kids connected to the outside world and to embark on this new, exciting journey. And I can't tell you how gratifying it feels to be part of it. And I have so many people to thank... I am merely the messenger, the face behind all those who responded to my plea for help. They have asked me to tell everyone how much they appreciate your donations, but more importantly the spark of hope that your kindness has shown them, how it knows no boundaries. They simply cannot believe that perfect strangers would dig into their pockets to help a community they've never seen... for people they don't know. I have to say, that right there is what touched their hearts more than anything. So well done family and friends... well done!!!
Then, I had to pull myself together as it was my first night teaching at the Copey Learning Center. I was a bit nervous, not having ever taught before, but it went pretty well. They want me back, so I guess that's something :)
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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