So, I am a week away from leaving for Togo. Passport visa, done. Anti-malaria medication, check. Two duffle bags of medical supplies, yep (thanks to project S.A.V.E.) Sunscreen and hat, got it.
This trip will be the culmination of three – plus years of work. The school buildings are completed and in use. The second cistern is being installed and should be up and running when I get there. We have only to furnish the desks and chairs for the last three classrooms. It looks like we need to raise about $2,000 to make that happen.
The goal of building a primary school in Dédékè, Togo has become a reality. (Breathe)
The easier part is over. The long-term goal is continuing community development — a much more challenging goal to accomplish. I know how hard it is to create change in my own life — even with all the tools at my disposal. There will be changes the people of Dedeke will have to embrace in order to have the things they desire. Only time will tell if they are able to meet the challenge. I think they will!
I don’t know about you, but I was raised with the belief (which I think is common here in America) that if I work hard, I can do anything I put my mind to. This is something that a lot of us were taught from the time we were very young. And we are not surprised to see many people overcome all kinds of adversity to rise to greatness. This is not something that is taught or seen in Togo. Having that belief in yourself, I think, is a key to success. I hope I can find a way to help inspire them to start to believe in themselves.
I will be meeting with the different village committees to find out their successes and challenges. Because we want to instill a sense of ownership in the school, we are hoping/planning to have the people participate in some small monetary way toward the purchase of the last group of desks and chairs. I guarantee this will be a big deal to them.
Of course, depending on the power availability and the internet connection strength, I will do my best to post photos on Facebook and here on the blog.
Our commitment to Dedeke is to stay involved over the next three years — 2014. We will continue to monitor their progress and be there to help should they need it.
To all of you who have helped make this dream a reality, you have my unwavering gratitude. You are the power that pushed this project to completion. I thank you!