Dear friend, master teacher, ace commenter and two-time winner of the Annual Black History Month Quiz David Russell is a long way from home.
Six thousand miles, to be exact.
Dave’s in Chile for a couple of weeks with his wife Jane and his older daughter Alice visiting his younger daughter Meg.
Meg’s teaching English to elementary school children for a year, and, from what I can tell, getting an awful lot out of the experience.
Dave wrote a guest post on Meg’s entertaining and informative blog that I very much enjoyed reading, and suggest you do the same.
Here are some paragraphs toward the end of the piece that were particularly resonant for me:
Connection across boundaries is wonderful and exhilarating. The storeowner taking leave of her post, inviting us into her adjacent kitchen and telling us about her grandparents’ role in the founding of the town over cookies and tea as her granddaughter fell asleep in her lap. The librarian discussing with Margaret and I how “Culture should not have a price” and how 90% of Palena families now patronize his institution each month, as a stream of kids came and went, checking Facebook and taking out books. Being part of the birthday party of a friend of Margaret. Fiercely bonding with a group of teachers over the tragedy of the Pinochet years– and a few bottles of wine. A man pulling over in his jeep, wordlessly offering assistance, as I struggled to fit our bags in the car trunk.
I am fortunate. Most people do not get the opportunity to make a visit such as the one my family made to Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay (a ferry ride across the river from Buenos Aires). In my heart and in my mind I will hold a connection to the people that I met, to Tito and Melissa, to Ariel and Alejandra, and the others. I appreciate more what I have, and I believe more strongly than ever in the necessity for greater justice and equality in the world.
PS. A mini-shout-out to the Internet, without which you would not be reading this. Through Skype we’ve “seen” Margaret regularly these months she’s been gone. At a party in Palena, songs/videos of assorted artists were played via YouTube as we discussed tastes in music, etc. A magical tool.
A magical experience shared through words, a picture and the perspective of a loving and proud father.
Dave may be 6,000 miles from home, but his post has brought Palena much closer to us.
Thanks for the gift, Dave.