Meet the Principal of the school in Babancourt and his wife, one of the teachers of the children who will be receiving the donation of Laptops raised during the Traffic Stop's Laptop Round Up for the Real.
They are also the proud parents of Carl, a five year old whom I met earlier in the day on the dirt track into Babancourt. Carl also attends the school where his parents work with about 200 other children from the area. Actually, meeting Carl on the way into Babancourt is an interesting story that helps to affirm how meeting someone in another nation not chosen with eye contact regardless of the language difference can be an education for both humans.
Pastor Lyonel was behind the wheel of his big white Chevy king cab 4 x4, and Pastor Dupree and his wife were sitting close to each other behind me as we turned right off of the hardball road onto the dirt track that led to Babancourt. The wide path was lined lush green with palm trees, tall grasses, thick vines and an occasional tall leafed hardwood. Roughly a mile in I started seeing small sturdy houses set back ten to twenty meters off of the road. There were no driveways for cars not owned leading to these little homes, just open space or a narrow foot paths cut through the green on the edge of the road. Houses built small with design that fits the need. Both block and wood foundations raised off of the dark earth floor in case of flooding from the close by mountains during the rainy season which comes every year. Open windows without screen or glass, and small porches for sitting on almost every house.
All of a sudden the truck stopped quickly and unannounced in front of a modest dwelling some twenty meters off to my right. Pastor Lyonel yelled a friendly morning greeting to the Grandmother standing and waving back to us on the elevated porch. The way she was standing almost completely blocked my view of the open front door. She was smiling and still waving just as someone small from around her skirt appeared making his way to the wood plank stairs that led down to the ground. Now he was running directly for us in his little khaki and green public school uniform shouting, "Paste' Lyonel, Paste' Lyonel."
This little fellow of no more than five years old must have recognized the familiar truck of the Pastor, but the sight of me he could not place. His run stopped quickly turning into a frozen stare at the thickly bearded white man he had never seen before in the Pastor's truck just a few feet from him. Lyonel made the informal introductions and I leaned down sticking out my hand to shake Carl's, the primary school kid looking wide eyed back up at me. Carl's tiny hand slowly met my mine with a gentle shake, and then he ran off on down the road in the same direction we were headed.
A few hours later after getting an overland hiking tour of the 40 acre parcel owned by the church, Pastors Lyonel and Dupree led me down the dirt road to see the large school building supporting the village. When we arrived all of the children and teachers were out in the sandy yard about to end a morning recess. We watched as the bells rang and the kids assembled in an orderly fashion to reenter the schoolhouse. While I was preoccupied taking pictures, the young Principal of the school came over and immediately started talking to Pastor Lyonel in a language that I did not understand but could hear and just as importantly feel. Lyonel burst out into laughter, something up until that point I wasn't sure if he was capable of. I asked him to please tell me what was so funny because now both he and the Principal were laughing in my direction.
Lyonel started by asking me if I remembered that little boy Carl, whom I had met earlier. "Of course I do", I answered. "Well", Lyonel explained, " Carl is the son of the Principal and one of the teachers here at the school. When Carl came to class this morning he found his mom and dad right away to report that there was a bearded white man in the village and his hands are soft, like powder." That is pretty funny, I thought to myself as Lyonel introduced me to the smiling Principal and his wife. I recon it is rare that the children of this village some 50km north of PAP and off the beaten path get to see someone from America, especially someone as soft as me.
Now is our chance to help those kids out by getting them the hardware that they need to start up a computer learning lab that presently does not exist in the Babancourt School. As of today, it looks as if the Laptop Round Up for the Real has received the commitment of 7 Laptop computers being donated by five individuals in position to help. My goal is 15 and there is still just over three weeks left in the drive, so please keep your ears and eyes open for the project. Like Tab says, "This is an easy one to get behind."
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to get in touch with me and thanks for being part of something authentic.