Friday, April 30, 2010
We spent a morning at a school in a VERY rural part of Africa. We rumbled up hot dusty back roads in the Apparently Indestructible Truck Thingie and after a number of spine jarring bumps, we rolled up in front of a brick building.
It was a drab brick affair with peeling paint and a tired principal standing out front. My expectations weren't all that high.
But there were kids singing inside and despite the drab feel of the place, there seemed to be a little cloud of joy surrounding it.
We were led into a grade eleven classroom and the kids sat there looking at us with shy eyes and we looked back, nodding and smiling and feeling like nasty interruptions in an otherwise lovely day.
The principal assembled the kids and they started to sing.
Okay: I admit it. I put my polite face on. I was prepared to endure a school assembly type of thing.
That lasted five minutes. As the kids sang and the audience clapped something PDC (Pretty Darn Cool) happened.
The kids started to laugh and really sing and dance. Energy infused the room and suddenly everything was magical. Inside of a few minutes, we were all laughing and clapping along with them.
It was one of those wonderful travel moments where two completely different cultures meet, shake hands and actually like each other.
It happened in a "way too hot" classroom in a town so small I'm not sure it even has a name.