Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Just can't wait to get on the road again"...to Mound Bayou...

Nothing says "Mound Bayou" like this picture: A vision when it was established in 1887, and the vision keeps growing.  
 No matter how busy my week, nothing makes me jump out of bed faster in the morning than knowing I am going to Mound Bayou.  It is probably one of the rare times in my week that I am early getting to work.  We have a new partner in our service learning work with the City of Mound Bayou, from Health Exercise Science and Recreation Management.  It was my privilege this morning to introduce Dr. Rockey to Mayor Johnson, and a couple of other folks from the City.  It is a pretty incredible feeling when I step out of my car and meet people I have come to know over the past year since I have been working with the City, and they hug me and welcome me back to the City.  It reminds me of something I once heard--though I don't recall from whom or where--that "relationship is that, without which, you do not know that you exist."  It is in and through relationship that we are who we are, and I think more importantly, who we can become.
 In South Africa, I learned the term "ubuntu."  The philosophy originated much earlier than that mentioned above, and means something akin to "a person is a person through other people; I am because you are, and because you are, I am."  There are a variety of translations of what ubuntu means, but the philosophy is always essentially the same: We need each other to become who we are meant to become.
I had seen this park across the street from the City Hall since my first visit last year.  Today, I asked the Mayor about its significance, thinking it one of the greening projects.  It is, but it is more than that.  It represents the city's early beginnings: the Mound, and the Bayou that gave it a name that would become known throughout the world.  

Booker T. Washington wrote, "Outside of Tuskegee, I think I can safely say there is no community in the world that I am so deeply interested in as I am in Mound Bayou." (The Mound Bayou Mississippi Story, The Delta Center for Culture and Learning, Delta State University, n.d., para.1). 

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