A blog by Jamie Bankhead (sponsor, supporter, and visitor) & Orkeeswa students
This past summer, I was honored to be given the opportunity to visit Orkeeswa Secondary School.
Whenever my sister travels, she has a tradition of handing out wooden blocks that are somewhat similar to beads, with inspiring words written on the face. For years I have watched her give these out and it is amazing to see how words can mean different things to different people. When I told her I was going to Tanzania and wanted to take some of her inspiring words, she was thrilled. With my nephew’s help we filled a small pouch with words like "Gratitude," "Inspire," "Take Charge," and "Appreciate."
Once at the Orkeeswa, it was so fun to meet the students. As we got to know one another, I asked them if they would like to choose a word from my pouch, most looked at me curiously and willingly. They dug in the pouch for a word and discovering it started a fun dialogue between us all. What did the word mean to them? We shared our thoughts and stories on the word, it was amazing to see where the conversation would go from this one prompt.
My word was "Breathe." To most that is the act of taking in air, something we do to stay alive. For me, breath is the moment that I stop, look around and take stock of what is important at any given moment. Like most, I am running around all the time and forget about the little things. The smile from behind the counter at the pharmacy, the flower that has cropped up on the city sidewalk, or the incredible attitudes and laughter of the Orkeeswa students.
Here are a few samples of what Jamie’s inspiring words mean to the Orkeeswa students that she met:
The Opportunity is Now
The biggest opportunity in my life is school. I never thought that one day I would be in secondary school. I think that school is everything in my life. It can change my life forever. School is the way that I will be able to reach my goals and my vision.
- Eunice Godfrey, Form III
Appreciate…the little things.
This word means to me that for anything that I am given, without knowing whether it is small or big, I must feel proud, I must feel glad.
I never know what is ahead of me so I appreciate right now.
- Justina Richard, Form III
In all of my life I have always liked to take action. Taking action means to me to make ways to help your family, your community and your school. One of the most interesting things that I would like to take action on when I am finished my studies is women and jobs, meaning I wish to help women to find good jobs.
- Agnes Idrissa, Form II
One day I was walking with my young brother, Sadia. As we were walking we felt very hungry. So I started to think, how can I help my young brother, how can I feed him? I took him home and I made us food, after we ate we did many chores. When my mother came she said, “I appreciate all of the work that you did today.”
My family helps me and I help them. We appreciate each other.
- Agnes Idrissa, Form II
A Final Word of Gratitude
As New Year's Eve has come and gone, and resolutions have been made (and in some cases, already broken), it is important that we all think of what each of us should be appreciative of. The Morningstar Foundation is truly thankful for the wonderful support of all the people who have helped our cause, the unique opportunity to work with the charming students of Orkeeswa School, and the selfless and determined work of IEFT, which has transformed the lives of the students of Orkeeswa. With your support and help, we look forward to another year of helping guide children like ourselves around the world to the brighter tomorrow they deserve.