Skip to main content

Kalina, Day 6


The group woke early this morning for its 2 1/2 hour drive south from Mek'ele to Kalina. A beautiful, clear sky morning greeted us. The rainy season, it would appear, remains late. It was a fresh 16 degrees Celsius. 


Save the Children in their 4X4 led the way as we moved in convoy up and over the Gira Castle Mountains and through several small villages. Children frequently ran onto the road calling "Chinese, Chinese".  

To many of the locals in this remote region of Tigray, the only foreigners they see are the Chinese whose government is working on rebuilding old roads (ones built by the Italians during their occupation), and building new roads. 

The smell of Acacia wood (introduced from Australia in the late 1800s) burning in breakfast fires filled the valleys and plains as we moved through the canyons. 

Unlike Bahri Dar, Addis, Condar, and Lulibela, most of the dwellings in this region are made of stone, chiseled and laid to form houses where it's found. 

Christian farmers dominate the highlands in the center north, while Muslim herders and traders occupy the lowlands in the east, where we are now. 

We saw herds of camel and cattle and many small markets at crossroads all along our route. 


Our convoy pulled off the main road around 8 am and drove the last part of our journey to Kalina on unpaved road. 


The approach to the school was surrounded by large cacti 8 to 10 feet high on both sides of the road. 


A light, grey dust billowed around and behind the cars as they made their way toward the school's main entrance. 


As we approached children singing and chanting "welcome guests" streamed out of the school's front gate--the movement of their feet added to the clouds of dust already hanging in the air from our vehicles. 

Popcorn was thrown in the air like confetti at a wedding. The boys carried long wooden rods as they marched and chanted; the girls danced, clapped and sang. 



After the initial welcome and presentations the children lined up and filed into their classrooms. 





We were then greeted by the village elders and parents. With the help of our translator we exchanged formal welcomes, introductions, and gifts.  We explained the course of events over the past 6 years that led to this day and expressed our profound gratitude for such a warm welcome. 


To conclude opening remarks and on behalf of the faculty and the school, I presented the Principal with a pair of books, both Saint David's publications that chronicle the history of Saint David's and the hymns and prayers important to the school. He was thrilled. 



The Student Council presidents presented Saint David's hats and t-shirts to the Principal. He then put the hat on his head, with pride. 


Saint David's parents presented sweets to the Kalina parents. 


Our Save the Children rep Cheryl Anderson also presented a gift to the head of the PTA. 


After the formal ceremonies, we moved into the classrooms for a tour and interactions with the children. 








Saint David's Kalina School consists of a main classroom building, an admin block, and latrines. 




To conclude our visit, the Kalina teachers invited us in for a traditional coffee ceremony complete with incense.  It was delicious. Best coffee ever. I was asked to cut the freshly made bread to begin the ceremony and we also all enjoyed popcorn and fresh goat's milk. 


The Principal came to say a final goodbye and expressed his gratitude. 



A teacher. 


Herding by our cars. 

More to come when I get home. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

An Evening With Lidia Bastianich

On Tuesday evening, Lidia Bastianich, award-winning chef, restaurateur, television host and author, visited Saint David's to speak to the Saint David's Alumni Parent community and current Eighth Grade.



Interviewed by Alumni Parent Dr. Joseph Haddad for our Alumni Parent Council Lecture, Lidia recounted her youth in Istria when the once Italian peninsula shifted to communist reign after World War II, her two years spent as a refugee in Trieste, and her experiences after her family immigrated to America when she was eleven years old.


The boys were fascinated with her discussion about her family's escape from Istria and her life as a refugee and immigrant. She expressed her everlasting gratitude to the people who provided assistance to her family in Trieste and when they first arrived in New York. "I can't talk enough about the goodness of the people who helped us," she said. "I am where I am because of them."

As a highly successful person with…

Navy SEAL Bill Berrien '82 Gives Chapel on Service to Saint David's Boys

Former Navy SEAL and Saint David's Alumnus Bill Berrien '82 fascinated all during his Chapel Talk Tuesday morning to our seventh and eighth graders.

A SEAL for nine years, Bill was a member of two platoons in South America as well as part of a Joint Special Operations unit. He shared his SEAL Trident with the boys, talked about the intensity of training, and noted he remains close to many with whom he served.


Connecting his service to the values that Saint David's espouses, he encouraged the boys to always be students--curious throughout their lives, to find the best in everyone, appreciate setbacks, and to learn from failures. In the video above, he addresses the first.

He closed by planting these "seeds" for our boys to consider: that life is a journey to be embraced broadly with openness to a variety of opportunities; being a service leader is of utmost importance; the unknown should be embraced; and, finally, that the boys be their own best friend, compassi…

Sono arrivati in Italia!

Eighth graders and their teachers have arrived in Rome and are enjoying the first day of the 10-day Italian Study Tour.


Their first stop was St. Paul's Outside the Walls, where Cardinal Harvey, Archpriest of the papal basilica, provided a tour. Later, the boys visited the Spanish Steps, and toured the Pantheon.




Over the next two weeks the boys will visit sites in Rome, Assisi, and Florence. They will see in person the paintings, sculpture, and architecture that they have studied in the interdisciplinary humanities class. Each day their understanding will be deepened as they write about the experience and sketch the various works in their journals.


This trip is an exceptional opportunity for our boys to augment their in-class learning, build experience as citizens of the world beyond New York City, and strengthen their bonds as a graduating class.

I can't wait to join the boys and their teachers later in the week!