teaching, learning and living around the world
There is something so beautiful about family, and I’ve been seeing it through lots of different lenses lately. My first two weeks here, I was really moved by the interactions I observed between siblings. My favorite sibling trio, whom I was sad to see finally leave the hospital school, were Chance, Rebecca and Jasper. I soon learned that Jasper was affectionately called JoJo. He was adorable, and his older sisters kept a watchful eye over him.
It has been amazing to watch eight year olds carry their six month old younger siblings on their back; to witness how such young children can have motherly and fatherly instincts. If a young one began to cry in the front of the classroom, their older sibling would jump up, pick them up, try to comfort them and if they couldn’t be quieted they’d take them outside for a bit. Sometimes I could see the younger ones vying for the attention of their older siblings… and nine times out of ten, they would get it.
It is all just so beautifully human- I love it. The importance of family is a common ground that is expressed and carried out differently across cultures… but is at the forefront of our lives nonetheless.
In terms of my own family, I recently received an email from my Uncle Sam- who had put together a series of letters between my Aunt Lizzy and my grandmother, Mama Lene. At the end of the series of letters is a poem, written by my great-grandmother. Not only does it capture how SOUTHERN my family is, but also the gratitude that we so often feel for each other… but maybe don’t express enough.
So… I’m posting this poem from my family, TO my family. I know that it can be stressful and complicated at times, to deal with the fact that I live in Eastern Congo. So I just want to say to the world how lucky I feel to have such a VOCIFEROUSLY supportive family. I love them very much, and missing them when I’m away is certainly one of the biggest challenges of living abroad. So here’s to Sally, Lonnie, Marcia, Alex, Shawn, Meg, Mattie, Kofi and Jackson!