This week one of my tasks at Restore Leadership Academy was to help take pictures, called ‘snaps’ here, for their yearbook so that it’s ready before graduation in November.
Shooting headshots was fun. I positioned them in front of their newly opened school, in front of the bricks and one of the bright blue classroom doors. Their shy smiles and melty brown eyes met my lens and I fell in love with these kids. Some of them were dressed in their school t-shirts and decided to come back for a second photo in their school uniform. I love that they wanted to look their best for the yearbook, that they take pride in their appearance.
During a break, the students gathered around my computer to see their photos. They laughed, they poked fun at each other and asked over and over again when I would print them out for a photo album. I’m working on that last one, but there’s not really a camera shop in town, at least not that I’ve found. Yet.
As the students wandered off one student, a tall boy with a toothy grin stayed behind, sitting next to me.
“The one in the photos.”
“I chose it because it was the nicest one.”
He grinned and stared at his shoes, as I flicked through the photos each one set against the backdrop of his door.
I love the pride and ownership the students have in their school home. I love that they helped build it. I love that the students are clearing a place for a rice paddy and a garden. They own this school, perhaps not in the way we own things, but they own it in their hearts and I’m so grateful they’re sharing it with me for this brief window in time.
A few days later I was sitting in on a class. The topic was “Having a Vision and Mission for Your Life”. When the instructor asked for volunteers to share their vision and mission, Richard spoke up.
“I have a vision to be a peacemaker for Africa. My mission is to open up an orphanage that’s also a school.”
I can just see Richard a few years down the road painting the doors on his own orphanage/school. As for having a vision to be a peacemaker for Africa? In my mind, he already is.