March 31, 2008

Daraja means bridge, and you are Daraja

I can’t believe that this blog has been around for as long as it has and I have never- I don’t think even once- mentioned the name Jason Doherty. Well sit back and let me tell you a little about my friend, my brother, my soul mate.

I will not talk about our past or how we met, the months we spent in his hospital room while his shattered body mended from a car crash I should have been involved with, but due to my nine lives I missed. I won’t mention how I rescued him from yet another car crash in the Mexican desert, or the many nights we sat beside fires talking, drinking, and growing.

They say that woman are better at building and maintaining friendships, because men are afraid to open their hearts. Jason Doherty is proof that this is not true, because he is one of the most important people in my life, and I am ashamed that I have allowed my own life to be the focal point of my attention. I have allowed his victories to go unnoticed for too long. Now is the time to tell you what he is doing, and how you can hook your wagon to his star and see where you end up. You will not be disappointed. If you believe in education and a better future please read on:

We both had an idea we would be teachers in Mr. Tovani’s Environmental Studies class, but it was solidified when a student teacher was naive enough to pass out Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas to a group of us, and not think that he wouldn’t set fires that would never go out. We were students who under achieved because we knew the system the other teachers were selling was broken anyway. We’d eventually both get through college and jump through the hoops society demands of its educators, but we knew at sixteen that the world society was selling was not the one we wanted to buy. We dreamed of bigger things. We dreamed of revolutions. We, the two of us, would wake the world up and spread the light we found everywhere we looked. We were the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars...and no car accidents or Tsunamis were going to stop us.

Fast forward sixteen years, two wives, a baby, a few college degrees, a few football teams coached, trips to every continent on earth and here we are. I am some how unemployed, gagged, and bound in Doha, and my friend is ready to make our old dream come true.

While my path has led me on my own journey, one I wouldn’t trade for the anything in the world, his path is now leading him to his dream. I am sure that one day we will be sitting beneath a tree, as a fire crackles, the stars will shine like our promises come true, and we will drink tea, we will hug; our hair maybe white, and our children will be asleep, but we will have arrived together, finally, in Africa.

Jason is the person who planted the Africa seed in my body. It is because of him, I needed to go to Mozambique and teach for two years. It is because of him that I went and met my wife and start my teaching career. This year he is finally going himself.

The story of how the Daraja Academy got started and funded and ready to admit students is a long one, and one that even I am not too clear on. I will let Jason’s work tell his own story of how he and his wife single handily started a school where girls from the slums of Nairobi will cultivate a community of individuals with a sense of cultural awareness, social conscience, and environmental responsibility, all while instilling talents that will enable them to open doors to a global society.

My job is to use my network & web presence to share Jason’s dream with as many people as I can. I have inserted links to his school’s site, Facebook groups, a video below, so that everyone who reads this post will share the link with as many people as you can. Link to this post. Write your posts. Twitter it to your networks. Get the word out their and let's get as many people as possible to get in touch with the Carr Educational Foundation and help in any way they can. Share money, volunteer to teach, send books, send your love, send karma, send, share and then share some more. This could be a great project for your students to take up and help them become involved with fund raising, raising awareness, or perhaps your school could adopt Daraja and begin corresponding once they are up and running. The possibilities are endless. once I have a job again, I will get to work more on these ideas.

In the midst of everything that is happening in the world- all the anger, the fear, and the questions I face, I see this school as some kind of an answer. Like I said, I cannot go there myself now, because my life path is headed in other directions, but I can share Jason’s message and hope that the Daraja Academy will be a success, so when it is time for our paths to cross again, I can sit under that tree with my best friend and know that, way back in high school, we were right. We will know we won. Two old men will sit together in the darkness, and we will have proven to the world that it all it takes to make things right is a bit of love and hope.

I love you Jason and I am typing these words now with tears in my eyes. Good luck. See you soon, some how, someplace.

Daraja means bridge, and you are Daraja

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