While sitting in the front row of the festivities of Speech Day at our school, a day to celebrate the year, have students and teachers perform songs and dances, have preschool graduation, and even drink fanta, I found myself repeatedly drawn to not only my students on the stage, but perhaps the children unseen by others: Those Who Stand Outside. Yes, watching with pride my students speak English, put on plays about AIDS and malaria awareness, and sing original composed songs, I also watched with sadness the village children from the community who are not in school who came and stood outside, peering in through the window to watch the life they don’t have.
Though I took many pictures of different events, my camera found its way always back to the faces of Those Who Stand Outside. Am I not here to serve them to? They, in their tattered clothing, standing for hours watching events in a language they barely understand, recognize it all as something special and frankly, they have nothing better to do. With no school of their own, where else should they be? And without an education, they will remain on the Outside looking in. Someone asked me recently, “do you feel like you see the children changed at all or that you are making a difference?” and my original response was “not yet.” But today I realized every day I give my students something Those Who Stand Outside do not have: dignity. Am I making a difference? Yes. One by one, I give them dignity as I take them from the outside and welcome them into my classroom and give them a shot at “Struggling for a better life” to quote a song they sang today. All I can do is continue to work to improve this school and build it financially so we are to sponsor more students like these to come.
Here is a clip of part of the “Struggling For a Better Life” song, I can’t put it all because the internet here is too slow to upload it all. http://youtu.be/RmniAlYWUa8