No matter the age or occupation, we all strive for healthy relationships with people around us. Relationships create connection. They help us to understand different perspectives while encouraging us to see the world through a variety of lenses. Over the last four years, School of Hope has been a major part of A to Z Literacy Movement’s mission in Zambia, and we have worked hard to establish trusting, respectful, and caring relationships with staff and students alike. However, I still get nervous every time I travel back to Africa. I worry relationships have weakened and teachers will be hesitant to collaborate. I become anxious students might not want to participate in lessons.
Of course, I should know better . . . most of life’s worrying is a waste of time because when I returned to the school on Monday, so many teachers welcomed me back with open arms and open doors. Students stopped to greet me and asked when I was coming to their classrooms. Such a sincere and warm welcome back. Gratefully, I’ve already been able to teach in multiple grades alongside teachers, while observing others in action . . . and it’s only Tuesday! I believe because of positive relationships, we are making a difference in the literacy lives of Zambian children, and as Zambian teachers often ask their students during class, “Are we together?”, I can honestly say “Yes. Yes, we are together!”.