Stories from the Field: Trust Without Wavering
By Kim Worthy
2011 & 2012 TWA Fellow from Howard University Middle School of Math and Science, Washington, D.C.
Last year I took a LEAP into the unknown, spending two months in South Africa…but not just in South Africa, in the LEAP Science and Maths School in South Africa. LEAP is not just a school, it is a movement. It is a movement towards self-awareness, self-reliance and self-determination; a movement towards consciousness and emotional and intellectual awareness; a movement towards community responsibility and community development; a movement towards reclaiming culture, history, and of course, Ubuntu….humanity. After two months of working with the faculty, staff and students of LEAP 1 and LEAP 2, I left South Africa with a deep awareness of my intentions, my behaviors, my thoughts, my feelings, and my “unique ways.” I knew where they came from, where I learned them, and how they impacted my life, my family’s lives, my students’ lives, and everyone else in my life. The honest reflections were difficult to swallow, but because of the “trust that was birthed from the honesty” we shared, and because of the promise of “NO JUDGMENT,” I was able to receive the reflections. Being open to these honest reflections, I was able to sit with the feelings that came with them, and learn from them. I was inspired to liberate myself from my habits and behaviors that I was previously unaware of, which had impacted others and myself. My experience in LEAP last year made me feel free, whole, normal, and human, and I was inspired to change and grow.
When I learned that I would be going back to LEAP as a 2012 Teach With Africa Teacher Training Fellow, I felt fortunate and thrilled. I waited all school year to fly back to South Africa to see everyone I deeply value at LEAP, and to return to the place that inspires me to “share as much as possible” and to change. I yearned to be with the LEAP family who SEES me, FEELS me, SUPPORTS me, and ACCEPTS me without conditions; I yearned to be around others who are just as open to feeling human. I wanted to reflect with others who genuinely care, offer my reflections, receive their honest reflections, and simply experience humanity for the second time in my life. My intention was to return to give all that I could give, and to feel human again. I gave my word that I would return to share, and I waited for my return with great anticipation.