Each week, we speak with Theresa and the team in Kantolomba. We check in to see how everything is going with the new structure of the girls’ program, where instead of having large classes, the girls are in “pods” of 4 to 5, allowing them to receive more direct one-on-one attention.
Now, what these teachers are trying to do is inspiring. With very few resources and a lot of challenges, they are working to help every girl pass the exams and have the opportunity to move on in her education. When I talk to teachers, they smile big and share the latest on their girls. Some girls are doing very well, others are struggling a bit, but everything is going “fine.” Not once have I heard a teacher say “I can’t” or “she can’t” or “this is too hard.” There isn’t a single girl they are willing to give up on. On each call, Theresa tells us – with an unbreakable determination in her voice -- that the girls will have improved by the end of year.
I was reflecting on this as recently I found myself caught up in a story that goes something like this: “I really want to … but I’m just not a person who can … but I really want to… but I just can’t,” as I hear the thud of a tennis ball as it (or really, I) am hit back and forth between the voices – caught in a conversation, feeling unable to move and helpless.
Now, I don’t know if this is true, but I project that there aren’t any stories this team is buying into around what is or isn’t possible. In fact, the proof of that is the 15 years the project has been going in Kantolomba. There is no way this project succeeds if the team is caught up in a conditioned story. They simply know what they are going for, the love they have for these children, and they show up each day with that commitment and determination to support these girls in the best way they can.
So as I look at the stories conditioning has me wrapped up in, I am grateful for the example and experience of Kantolomba. I see how I have the ability to simply just step off that tennis court and move in the direction my heart chooses, away from those voices and toward a place of unconditional love.