The warmth and hospitality of the Moroccan students and staff at the schools feels both heartwarming and humbling. I am aware in every moment that these first impressions may also be last impressions. E-mails and Facebook contact information have been exchanged, yet the reality is that I more than likely will not meet the majority of these young people again. What will I leave them with that might serve them in the future? I am awed by the way in which they hang on every word and so attempt to make those words matter in the deepest way possible.
When I asked them about their dreams for the future, one student answered, "I just want to be happy." Lilia, my teaching partner and I told her that her answer was very wise. We expressed that we wanted that same thing for her and all of the other beautiful young people we've met on this amazing journey. When students hugged me to say good bye with tears in their eyes, I felt the deepest sense of gratitude for the opportunity I've been given to connect with them and learn from them. Inshallah, this brief encounter has served as a bridge toward understanding that will continue to influence us far into the future.
Last night my teacher taught me the lesson of poverty, having nothing and wanting nothing. I am a naked man standing inside a mine of rubies, clothed in red silk. I absorb the shining and now I see the ocean, billions of simultaneous motions moving in me. A circle of lovely, quiet people becomes the ring on my finger. Then the wind and thunder of rain on the way. I have such a teacher.
Rumi, Persian poet