First off, I would like to say that I feel very honoured to be the 2015 Love4Gambia runner. As you may already know, starting in September, I will be on a one year sabbatical leave from work. I’ve been a grade 7 math teacher for three years now and I must say I truly love my job! Just in case the thought crossed anyone’s mind, I am not playing hookie from school! Nor am I trying to escape my students by leaving the country, that will be difficult part. This opportunity is something that I have been dreaming of for a while now.
At our first staff meeting in September, one of my colleagues read us this short story to highlight the difference we, as teachers, have the ability to make in our student’s lives. It is called The Starfish Thrower.
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
My colleague then told us to reflect upon this message throughout the school year.
My decision to partner with Nova Scotia Gambia Association will allow me to make that difference. I am not going to save the world. I won’t be able to stop war or hunger, nor to heal every ill person, but do believe that I can make a difference in someone’s life, somewhere on the planet. I will use my skills, my knowledge, my energy and time to make a positive change.
I believe that my expedition through The Gambia will be my first step in helping the country building healthier youth and communities. One little action is one step towards changing the world. Throughout my Love4Gambia run, I will be a starfish thrower, I will make a difference.