Sunday, August 1, 2010

a lesson

two days before the final concert, one of the Ketu district education officers came to meet me and confirm his presence at the the performance, along with the director.
after a brief introduction and a handshake, he decided it was time for the real talk.
"How will I personally benefit from what you have brought to Kopeyia?"
Nice. I was expecting this.
"You will benefit by ensuring better education for your youth, so that they can grow to be educated and productive citizens that will take care of, and improve the entire community" i replied.
"But, what about our office? Is six not enough for you?"
"For ME? This is not for me, Sir. None of it. It is for you. For your community. For your children."
"Well, I meant, for you, for Give to Grow. I was hoping I we could hijack one of your computers".
"That is absolutely out of the question" - the headmaster at this point started to feel uncomfortable, not knowing whose side to take if anyone called him responsible. (Which no one did).
And I was starting to enjoy it.
"What I brought for the school, remains in the school".
"OK, let this be as it is. Now let's discuss the future."
"What do you mean?"
"I need a laptop badly", he said. He just wouldn't let go. I suppose my disobedience pushed him to push, and I was happy to push back.
"Very well. May I suggest that you put that wish in writing and hand me that request. Next time when I fundriase in NY and ask for donations, I will make sure to tell them about your wish. If anyone decides to give a computer to you instead of the school, I will be happy to bring it over."
He was starting to get it. Nevertheless, he continued.
"A-ha, so you want to be really specific... We can just say 'It's for education'"
"I HAVE to be specific, Sir. If I get things and and promise to use them in a certain way, that is how I will use them. Otherwise, I would betray the trust of my partners and donors and that would be the end of donations. For anyone."
"OK. I understand."

The day at show, he showed up, along with the director, and behaved properly. Neither him nor the director ever mentioned their personal (or office) need.
They enjoyed the show, then asked to take pictures with me.
The director (who seemed like a really nice guy) gave a touching speech about the benefits that the community gained by the efforts and generosity of "our sister milika".

I won. Tough I never fought - it tasted like a victory. I felt like a have thought children some music and computer lessons, and just as successfully, a lesson in morals and respect to their elderly.

I am back now, and will post more. About the show itself, about Prinscilla singing Kisa Pada in perfect Serbian language and 7/8 meter, about my rebel boys who dared to do something different on stage, about next G2G steps....

I am happy to be home. But I miss the shiny smiles of Kopeyia children already.

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