Hello friends and family,
We have one more post coming soon, describing our last day at Fatima School, and our time on safari at Kafue National Park. That will be posted soon after everyone is home with more reliable internet access. I will also try to add some pictures to our posts. As I write this on Sunday afternoon, I imagine the girls are enjoying all the best things about returning from a long trip; that first sleep in your own bed, first shower, eating food from home, unpacking, and sharing gifts, explaining pictures, and starting to share stories and memories. I want to close out with some words of gratitude. I had such a wonderful experience in Zambia with our group, and with the many people we met and spent time with there. My role as chaperone felt minimal because others did so much to ensure that everything went smoothly. I am grateful to everyone back at Vis and to my co-chaperones who managed the details and logistics of moving a group of our size around and doing it so seamlessly. Personal thanks are on their way to each of you! The Dominican Sisters who hosted us took such good care of us while we were with them. We ate and slept well, and more importantly, we laughed a lot, shared a lot of stories, and witnessed the life-affirming work they do in their community every day. I must also thank the professionals with whom we were so privileged to travel. It was inspiring and educational for all of us to work alongside a doctor, an electrician, a pharmacist, three nurses and two dentists. We witnessed them freely giving of their time and talents to the community, and of course the few times the girls did not feel well, they were in good hands! As a teacher, I was so grateful that our girls got to spend time with these accomplished and kind professionals. Ron, Rob, Eric, Margaret, Julie, Janelle, Greg, and Barb, thank you so very much for being models of generosity, kindness, knowledge and skill. It was a joy to travel with you, and I am so grateful that our girls got to spend time with you.
I must mostly thank all of our girls' parents. It is a privilege to be entrusted with your children on a journey like this. Thank you so much for your support in sending your girls with us. You have much to be proud of. They were so responsible and adept at all the ins and outs of travel that my role was really quite effortless. I simply got to sit back and watch as they worked and embraced each moment of this trip. They were kind and supportive of each other, strengthening their own friendships. They adapted to the culture of the convent, with very early mornings, cleaning up after themselves, and living with comfortable but modest accommodations. They stepped in and engaged with every group of people we encountered, whether it was the girls of Fatima school, children waiting in line to be seen for medical and dental appointments, children of the Barefoot school or preschoolers who laughed and played every day just outside the Formation House where the girls stayed. They also jumped right in as assistants in the medical and dental work that was done while we were there. They took advantage of every experience and opportunity, and I couldn't be more pleased or proud of what I witnessed. I would take these girls anywhere.
The best stories from our trip are the ones that will unfold over the coming days and months, as life at home triggers memories of funny moments, memorable sights, people, and events, profound observations, and connections to faith and values. Wishing you blessings as you experience this through your daughters. With deepest gratitude for you all, - Erin Miller