When you start up a school in Mexico, there are so many different aspects you can think about. I mean, after all you will start affecting other people´s lives.
The first ones to experience the difference, are obviously the children. After all, that´s the whole point.
Then you realize, that the families also are being affected. When the children are happy and the parents notice that they develop healthily, a certain openness develops that enables parents to take in new information and start thinking in new directions. Suddenly old mental paradigms are being challenged: things don´t have to stay the same. There might be other ways that work better.
But what I´m probably most proud of having contributed to, is what can happen when a woman without education (dear me, how awful!) is being given the opportunity to develop in a whole new direction.
Seven years ago I met and hired Lucy, a 32 year old woman who quit school at age 14. I chose her for the job as a teacher assistan because she told me she wanted a job where she would be allowed to take initiatives and carry out responsibilities (quite unsual down here).
During the first three years that I coached and guided her daily, Lucy went from being an assistant to becoming the main teacher, responsible for all the kids at the first school I started. Five years in a row, I raised funds in order to send her to the Waldorf trainings in Cuernavaca. Today she is the only vertified Waldorf teacher in the state of Oaxaca, and in the process of becoming the school´s director.
During these seven years, Lucy has gone through a transformation. Not only has she succeeded professionaly. She has also managed to do something very few Oaxacan women have done: leave an abusive relationship, move from her village into town and change her life completely.
Now, her entire village is starting to develop in a new direction. Lucy is shining and thriving, and young women are seeing her as an example to follow. She does what she can in order to support and empower them, showing them that you don´t need to learn how to cook and take care of a home in order to serve a man, but because that´s part of what you need to be able to live your life.
It never occurred to me that this could happen. I´ve mostly been very happy to have contributed to Lucy´s development. Never had I thought that a small village would be affected by that.
When I decided to open up my third kindergarten, it was obvious to me that the best solution would be asking Lucy to come down to Puerto Escondido and help me train my new teachers. I wanted to give Lucy the chance to challenge herself again, further develop and share her knowledge and competence with new teachers. And also, I´d pay her and not some center in Cuernavaca.
Three young women accepted the same opportunity that I offered Lucy seven years ago. And a new generation of teachers have just ended their first teacher training, given by Lucy and myself.
During two weeks we´ve worked our butts off in order to implement a new rythm, with a new group of kids, with three green teachers.
To observe how Lucy´s gone from green to mature, has been a real treat. Knowing that three new “Lucies” are on their way, is just incredible!
Lucy and I on our way to La Casita