Bring out, lead forth.Brad April 14th, 2010
I’ve been in Laos for just over a week now, with a couple more ahead. It’s amazing the transformation one can undergo in such a short time – and the fun is just beginning.
My trip here is full of purpose. I’ve worked tirelessly with PoP over the last year and I wanted to see what I was working for, meet the Lao people and embrace the joy that these children bring with them. Well, now the blinders are off.
Education. It’s what PoP is all about, and I think it’s important to remember that is about more the simply building schools. I have a marketing background, so of course I have been saying that for over a year.
Now, I am breathing it.
If you go back in time, before Shakespeare and Olde English, you can trace the history of the word “educate” to the Latin educatus, a past participle of educare, which means “to bring up, rear.” That word is actually a derivative of the original educere, which means “bring out or lead forth.”
I think we’re onto something.
My formal education began twenty six years ago, when my parents enrolled me in pre-school. They saw the value of education back then, and for that I owe them everything. But formal education is just the tip of the iceberg , and my passion for learning still grows today. With each new experience, through every uncomfortable, lost-in-translation moment, I am learning life lessons that I won’t soon forget.
By building schools for the Lao people, we are providing them with that very same opportunity that we had – to ”bring out” their knowledge and give them choices in life.
But whether it’s a new word, a custom, or local history, I’d argue the Lao people have much to teach us in life.
And the children? They might be the wisest of all. Their laughter, passion and energy as they sit in classrooms that we helped build is contagious. They repeat their letters, help and care for each other and soak up all knowledge. When I sat there and watched them, I couldn’t help but smile.
We’re helping provide these kids with the tools of choice.
And there is no doubt that they will lead forth.
I’ve been in Laos for four and a half months now, with many more to come.
The transformation, the education that has come into my life is truly unquantifiable. Everyday I learn. Every moment I learn.
I learn the Lao word for watermelon (mak moo), I learn the right combination of sugar and lime juice for Pho, I learn where to park my motorbike. I learn new techniques and practices for educating youth in the developing world. I learn about this country, these people, myself, and what education brings to all of us.
A while ago I spent the afternoon with Kua, a 13-year-old at Pha Theung school. I waited for her to finish her morning class, dutifully pack away her homework and clean up her desk, then take me down to the river for an adventure.
She held my hand, sat with me in the boat, and rowed with me to the other side of the Nam Ou. Up a mountain on a rarely traversed path, we came to an old temple. She picked flowers for me, put her palm in mine, and walked me into the temple to the statue of Buddha. She taught me where to sit, where to put my hands, my flowers, and how to pray like she does.
And then we went home; Kua back to school, me back on the motorbike to Luang Prabang.
And I thought of Kua for days. She spent her hours of freedom during her school day with me, teaching me about her life and her culture.
That, for me, is it.
That is education. And the coolest thing about it? It breeds education.Donate