Peace Corps has been labelled the “toughest job you’ll ever love” and a time when you’ll experience your “highest highs and lowest lows.” And it’s true. Being in the Peace Corps is HARD, unimaginably hard at times. Call me insane, but I still love it. And I have experienced some of the lowest times in my life, and longest periods of epic failure. But the highest highs? I’d had some good times, but hadn’t experienced a true highlight of my life, until recently.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know my school entered EduPlant’s school gardening competition, and had judges visit our school in June. Yesterday it was announced that WE ARE FINALISTS!! We are one of 7 schools in the province to move on to the finals in Joburg. So three learners and a teacher will head to Johannesburg in October for the trip of a lifetime (especially for the learners, who probably have never been farther than Vryburg). They will attend workshops, have fun, and make a presentation for the judges about our school’s garden.
It’s unbelievable to think that my school, less than 400 learners in a village of 2,800. A village school that is poverty stricken and lacks the basic necessities of an education. Few of my learners have ever seen the First World part of South Africa, and most will likely grow up and live in my village, wishing for a job but unable to fund their own education and obtain one. Being named as a finalist is easily the most important accomplishment of my school, and something they can be proud of for years to come. It will be motivation to my community, and hopefully prove that permaculture is a valid method.
I am proud of my school, incredibly proud. Now, don’t think I’m tooting my own horn, because I’m not. You see, most of the change has NOT been driven by me. My counterpart, the learners, and our community volunteers have been behind everything. I serve as a resource for my school, a source of permaculture knowledge and as a guide to how we should proceed. But without the support of everyone else, my garden wouldn’t been green, and wouldn’t be a finalist. A fellow PCV called me a rockstar for this project, but truly, honestly, everyone else is the rockstar. I feel so honoured to be at this school, where people CARE enough to work hard and improve THEIR lives.
Now we are preparing for the finals. THE FINALS?!?! What?! I still can’t believe it.