Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Off to South Africa again!

This time tomorrow night, I will be leaving the US, headed for this beautiful place in Rondebosch, South Africa.  I have the joy and privilege to accompany 6 social workers and 2 future social workers for a couple of weeks of cultural tourism, visiting various social development organizations, museums, and places such as Robben Island, Table Mountain, and the Cape of Good Hope, as they learn about social work in South Africa.  I am so excited that they wanted to join me on this trip--my 8th visit to this wonderful country where I have made life-long friends.  I will re-visit some favorite places and old friends, and visit some new places and meet new people.  Road trip--and I will be driving on the left side of the road, shifting gears with my left hand, and remembering to keep left, not right!  A traffic signal is a robot, a stop sign is a stop street, and it's all in kilometers and liters!  I usually adjust fairly quickly.  I can't wait for some tea and scones, some wonderful South African wine, and a spinach-feta pie.  We have a potjekos and braai planned, along with many other exciting things, like a night on Long Street--for them, not me!

This week was finals, and today was the graduation/commencement ceremonies.  It was moving to see our first class of MSWs walk, and my outstanding students from the last two semesters.  It is always sad to see them go, but exciting to know they are carrying on the work.

I stopped in the restroom between the ceremonies, and ran into two of the students from this semester.  We were talking about the commencement message, by Dr. Franklin Hrabowski.  One of the things he mentioned was reading: the more you read, the better you write.  The more you read, the better you read.  The better you read, the more you read.  (Roughly paraphrased, but it was about the importance of reading in opening us to new experiences and new ways of thinking, and how critical that is for children.) He mentioned that teachers leave a legacy in that their students make them immortal.  Through the students, the work of the teacher continues.

One of the students said she was thinking about Riverside while he was talking--what we have been doing there for 6 years, and what we will continue to do there.  She said, "That is your legacy."  I said, "Then you must carry it on; you must continue that work, and carry on the legacy."  I believe she will, and that all these students will.  I have never been so inspired in all my years of teaching and working as I have been this year.

I am surrounded by people I love, who love me, and terrific students who are going to go out and make a difference in this state and beyond.  As one of my students said, "Do you think it just keeps getting 'gooder and gooder'?"  I think it must.


Gigi said...

Have a safe trip and a wonderful time! I'll be waiting to hear all about it. Congrats on graduating another class of future social workers and the first MSW class--you have reason to be proud. And I love the comments about reading and writing...so true.

Suzassippi said...

Thanks so much! Can't wait for another grand adventure!