I am committed to lifelong learning. I am committed to learning from people I admire and respect. I am committed also to learn from people I struggle to understand. I am committed to deepen my learning from familiar environments and I am committed to learn in new environments.
Last Sunday I had the opportunity learn in a new environment. In village of 300 inhabitants on the island of Nacula, at the northern end of the Yasawas, in Fiji, I made a new acquaintance: Saimone – the headmaster of the local high school. I met him in the local church and I asked him: “What gives you the greatest fulfillment as a leader in your school and in your local community?” Saimone radiated as he shared: “My greatest fulfillment comes from seeing my students learn, grow and achieve good results. I know they are headed for university and that they are the future of our country.” I was struck my his passion and commitment – he clearly lives for something greater than himself, and his sense of purpose lies in serving others.
I asked Saimone: “What is the greatest challenge of teaching in your school?”. Again his answer came quickly: “It is hard. The only electricity we have comes from a generator – we normally run it from 6PM until 10PM. But sometimes we do not have fuel for the generator. Sometimes we do not have motor oil. Also, we have very limited access to fresh water. We lack so many basic amenities. As a result, the population in our village is declining. People leave for the urban areas where life is simpler. But I am committed to staying.” I felt humbled. Many of the challenges I face seem like luxury problems in comparison.
Thank you, Saimone, for inspiring me and for giving me a fresh perspective!