The Surprises Begin

The Headmaster and the computer teacher, they are not alone. Although we see only a handful of people during the hour climb to the school, we now approach a crowd of people in the road. They are gathered outside the gates of the school and form a fold around the car as the gates pull back and we see what has been waiting for us inside—maybe 200 people assembled for our greeting.

The school is no longer on holiday.

The high school is there.

The primary school is there.

The PTA is there.

The school’s principal, Board of Directors, and the village tribal chiefs are there.

What later becomes apparent—the obvious thing that dawns on me only slowly and hours into the ceremonies—are the incredible distances each person has traveled to greet us. Hours of walking to be there when we arrived, the hours home after we leave.

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