Beans & Rice for the Soul

teaching, learning and living around the world

Nuggets of Hope

Big, bad things can happen anywhere, anytime.

Going to high school in Alexandria, Virginia put me 3.5 miles away from the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.  Teaching in Kinshasa put me in a city that 5 months prior had been a battle ground between Bemba and Kabila.  Grocery shopping at the best open air market in Brussels put me in the neighborhood of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected mastermind behind the Paris attacks.

And it’s important to pay attention. To understand the good, bad and ugly in our world.  This piece ended up resonating with me the most:

On one level, the frustration is understandable; it’s hard to deny there’s a double standard at work in the global outpouring of compassion for an attack in a rich country versus an equally lethal attack in a poor one. But who exactly are we all so angry with?

The massacres in Kenya were huge international news, too. The New York Times covered it exhaustively.

It’s not the media’s fault you checked Sports Center instead of the New York Times homepage the day after Al Shabaab pursued its genocidal agenda at Garissa University.

I still sometimes get sour about disparities in media coverage.  But I’ve also grown to realize that my own reading habits, my own emotional reactions… these also contribute to “the world” seeming to care or not care.

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.

We have two schools in Garissa, so I’d followed that attack closely back in April. The truth is though, I’m not the world’s greatest news follower.
But I AM a pretty good story collector.

So here are a few nuggets of hope.

Nugget #1

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of eavesdropping on an 8th grader (whose current tuition is a few dollars a month) interviewing for a scholarship at a prestigious boarding school.


I got a little choked up when she said, “I think I can add a lot to your school because when I become a famous neurosurgeon someday, the school can then say hey that famous neurosurgeon went here! And then a lot of other people will want to go to your school… because I went there.”


Well guess what?!  She has been awarded a FULL SCHOLARSHIP to complete secondary school at a fantastic boarding school in the United States!  What a rock star.


Nugget #2

Our office constantly has people returning from international travel.  It is commonplace to share odd and interesting snacks from abroad.

The other day I saw bowls full of new snacks in the kitchen and my colleague informed me it was called chin chin. It looked sort of like kibbles and bits and it tasted like a… dried donut.

Little did I know there was such a beautiful story behind it.

While Sean was walking around Lagos, Nigeria he bumped into one of our students! Sean tells the rest:

I turned around and saw Kareem and said, “Hey buddy.” He proceeded to take me off course, talking about computer reading and maths races.

He then showed me his mom’s shop. “My mom sells buns, minerals, egg drop, gala…Today I will work in the shop.”

I talked to his mom about Kareem and why she chose Bridge. I bought a bunch of chin chin and she talked about her business selling snacks.  We went back and forth a bit more.

Meanwhile Kareem helped sell some biscuits to a lady.

It was a great moment… seeing a mother grooming her child to carry on the family business. It was also great to know that the knowledge and skills that Kareem is getting at our academy will help him and his mom succeed further.

The chin chin in the kitchen isn’t just any ordinary stale tasting donut snack, it’s a special one. Made by Kareem’s mom.

Eating homemade Nigerian chin chin on a cold November day in Boston suddenly felt… awesome.


Nugget #3


Two of my close friends and former teammates weren’t able to make it to our wedding back in August… so they flew all the way from Seattle and DC for a long weekend in Boston to celebrate with us!


We ate and drank and had a very merry time.


Nugget #4

There is a really cool TEACHING PRIZE that I learned about this year, so all you teachers and former teachers should check it out!  It’s called the Sontag Prize in Urban Education. You get to spend one week teaching a small group of kids plus a weekend at Harvard doing some inspirational pd plus some cool swag plus $3,000!
A former participant writes,
When I am around other high-performing educators, I am energized to figure out the very best ways to help the students make huge gains in a short period of time. It’s an honor and humbling to be recognized among other teachers that I have so much respect for, and a joy to bring my own best practices to students that truly are eager to benefit from them.”

Nugget #5

Okay this last one isn’t personal… but this lady!! Cristal Logothetis!
Logothetis noticed that many of the refugees in the news reports carried babies in their arms. As a mother herself, she knew that having a baby carrier would make their trips through Europe much easier.
Photo by Patrice Poltzer / TODAY


And if that wasn’t sweet enough, the baby carriers come with wonderful notes attached:
Photo by Patrice Poltzer / TODAY
I feel so lucky to be privy to all of these nuggets of hope.
Big, beautiful things can happen anywhere, anytime.



One comment on “Nuggets of Hope

  1. Lonnie Rich (Dad)
    November 20, 2015

    We love good news, positive stories!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on November 19, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
%d bloggers like this: