Today I learned that perfection is overrated. On the way to Iyoli village school I was going over lists, plans and expectations in my head. We arrived at the school and were greeted by the teachers who took us into the head masters office to sign the guest book and do the standard greetings. I was standing with Evelyn, a friend of Moshi’s friend and a new friend of mine. I started telling Moshi what we should do and he said “Wait Lara, you need to be patient and trust me.” and I got really frustrated and upset and I had to go the the car and breathe (nimepumua). I told myself that I had to let things go, to stop micromanaging, because I realized that along with the language, the culture is also something that I don’t understand. I made a choice to stop telling Moshi what I expected and instead asked him what he needed from me to make things happen and just enjoy the moment.
So that’s exactly what I did, and even though I scrambled to get the projector working (he said you can play now but I hadn’t set anything up) it was exactly what needed to happen. He greeted the class, the elders, village chairman and woman’s group and thanked them for welcoming us into their classroom. He talked about the importance of stories and had Baraka read one of the stories from the book to the class. I would never have thought to do either of those things. We had lunch and then, finally, they watched the greetings from the Strathcona kids , fully understanding what the project was all about. They sat, mesmerized, watching the Canadian kids in the video greet and introduce themselves and then, at the the end of the video of the song, when one of the Strathcona kids writes “Children of Iyoli, We love you”, they understood that in that moment they were not alone, that there were kids on the other side of the world who cared.
Afterwards we went into the village to set up for a movie and invited everyone from the village. I was trying to tell the technician what to do because I was so scared that the projector wouldn’t work, or would burn out halfway through the movie, or something but in the end I also let that go and just chatted with people until he asked for my help. The sound and the projector worked and over 200 people from the village came and watched a 3 hour movie that I did not understand, other than it had something to do with a man who kept getting in trouble and being sent back to primary school.
I sat under the stars with the villagers, watching a crooked and blurry movie, Baraka falling asleep on my lap twisting my hair through her fingers with the soft hum of the generator in the distance. On our way home I thought to myself that, for me, this is my idea of perfection.