Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Simple Desk

The other day, Andie and I had a meeting with a woman named Terri from Camp Hill, PA. She has done amazing work in Kenya particularly with women and children of the Masai Tribe. It was fascinating to hear about her work and learn more about the region. In conversation, exchanging stories from our work and our travels, Terry alluded to the appreciation of the children for the work we had done. She specifically brought up the various aspects of the construction, noting the concrete floors, the spacious rooms, the bright colors, and… the desks.

This brought back a whirlwind of images and memories of the children carrying benches from the church to the school and back again, to the kids hunched over in the classroom vigorously completing their assignment. I realized that these images have veered far off into the reserves of my memory and it's only when prompted do I see them. Instead, I see the children’s glowing and beaming faces against the backdrop of vibrant blue, green and pink walls sitting at their very own desks!

I thought of our hardworking carpenter making those desks all day, nonstop, for over a week in order to ensure the kids could sit comfortably and happily on their first day. I recalled him attempting different desk sizes to fit the varying ages and sizes and how I selected a few children of drastically different heights to test them out. I remember how comical it was watching as a young 9-year-old girl tested out the desk proposed for her size. The bench and the desk (connected by design) had a gap I knew would be far too large for her. She sat there reaching from the edge of the bench to lean on the desk that was not only too far away but also nearly at her eye level. She looked up at me with such contentment I could do nothing but laugh as I told her it didn’t quite fit. To her, it was perfect.

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