Our last day in camp Goz Amer was a roller coaster of emotions for me. We arrived early in the morning per usual to watch the last 45 minutes of the pre-k classes. I’m excited to see the children in the mornings and from the looks on their faces the feeling is mutual. There are three pre-k classrooms, the doors are open and there is one big window in each classroom. I routinely pop my head into each window and door to do some sort of silly face at the children (trying not to distract them too much of course). It’s hard to contain my childish instincts at Little Ripples though. The children are so beautiful and filled with so much laughter. Either a hand wave, simple tag games or doing the elevator up and down the window will always guarantee me a smile or giggle.
And the teachers, what beautiful human beings they are. I can’t imagine the violence and devastation most of them have experienced. We found out yesterday the majority of them are between the ages of 17-19 years old, married with 1+ children. They teach pre-k in the morning and go to primary school after. Can you imagine? Their burdens and stresses are so much different than ours, yet they’re just as playful as the children. Once we got them out of their shells, through the power of sport and education, their youthful spirits were blatant. The greatest gift of being young is that you’re free to believe anything can happen.
Every day during our trainings we could feel more and more empowerment at Little Ripples. The women are slowing believing in themselves, taking ownership of their school, their responsibilities and their value not only as a teacher but a female leader in their communities as well. It is a slow process to change communities, societies and nations. But as we all know, it’s starts with one person and becomes a ripple effect.
Good-byes are always hard for me, I’ve never been great at them. Yesterday was no different. Some of the teachers were crying and other friends of ours in the community seemed very sad. It’s hard for them to see us leave, as we are a source of hope and inspiration for their freedom and justice. I could not say good- bye to them though. How can I say good-bye to people who represent the very essence of my beliefs, human rights. Treat others as you would treat yourself. We live in a world where equality is not a gift, but a right.
So it’s not good-bye Goz Amer, it’s see you soon.