Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Really Good News

I can't keep this in any longer.

Here's the deal. Last winter in a meeting our director told us she was working on a grant that would bring a group of exceptional students from Africa to study here. "What sort of program would we do with African student leaders?" She asked us. Immediately I thought it would be really cool if they could study the Civil Rights Movement in the American South. I remembered my friend Jessica had done something similar. Our director loved the idea so we all got the material together for the grant. We were awarded the grant in April and I started doing preliminary research on historic Civil Rights events and locations. See, one of the unique parts of this program is that it requires a trip for the students that will finalize in Washington, D.C. where the students will meet up with the other grantees who had studied in other areas of the U.S.. So I planned a rough sketch of a road trip around the South, ending in D.C.. The trip will include stops in Little Rock, Memphis, Birmingham AL, Atlanta and Greensboro, NC., and feature things like going to Al Green's church, touring The Rural Studio, and getting a preview of the International Civil Rights Center, plus most of the requisite memorials.

Well, the students, from Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, arrived earlier this month and have been really busy with their symposiums (symposia? What's the correct Latin grammar?), community development projects, and leadership training. They are quality individuals...such a joy to be around. They seem like they're always dancing, singing, and smiling. Even I feel hopeful and positive about the future when they're around.

And I never expected I would get to go on this trip because I knew I'd be busy with the other groups of students and because we hired someone specifically to coordinate the unit. But late last week our director asked if I could go along with the program director! I've been walking on air ever since. Yay!

Not only is this an incredible program that has deeply touched everyone involved, but, on a more selfish note, it gives me a chance to really appreciate the fruits of my labor. The logistics of a trip on this scale are a bitch! I'll also get to see some parts of the country for the first time, experience a part of our history that is both painful and necessary, PLUS I'll get to go through it all with these amazing students.

I'll try to post updates along the way. We leave next Friday on a chartered bus and I'll fly back on the 5th. This REALLY makes it all worthwhile.

!!!!!!!!!!!!

10 comments:

Lori Mocha said...

Holy crap! Awesome!

Jeff Mac said...

Hot shit, Flossie! That's friggin' fantastic. And, it has the added benefit of being not only A.) a really helpful thing to do, but also B.) infuriating to the rednecks. Good job, you!

StormySleep said...

That's so wonderful! Now I guess you'll have to change your profile phrase from desperately needing a break to ... um ... something else. Lucky girl, maybe. Take lots of photos!

Alannah said...

I know! I cannot friggin' WAIT to infuriate and confound rednecks! That's always an added bonus to living in the South.

Yes, I'll have to remember to take lots of photographs.

Richard's family said...

Hey that sounds great. You have been working hard and I am glad that you get to enjoy and experience this with your students. I hope you have fun and I want to see pictures!!!

step right up said...

What a great learning experience for everyone. Congrats to you!

John Mark said...

symposia! and...awesome! that sounds amazing.

5 of 9er said...

Aces! Good for you! :)

carolyn says said...

SO AWESOME! this job has been so good for you! I am totally jealous of and pleased for you all at once!

ReckenRoll said...

That sounds like an amazing program and an amazing trip! Congrats to you!