At times I have thought that I would enjoy working as a letter carrier for the post office. You get to be outdoors alot, you get lots of exercise walking, and you get to meet lots of people. These are all things I enjoy but I never actually pursued the idea. I'm quite sure I'll never work for the post office but thanks to many of you reading this blog I am getting a chance to be a "letter carrier."
A couple of weeks ago I sent out an email newsletter announcing that I was going to Africa to do presentations about Bridges of Peace and Hope at two educational conferences. Bridges of Peace and Hope is a growing organization of teachers and students working together to promote respect and understanding through writing, music, art, technology and collaborative projects. In my email I offered to bring pen pal letters with me in the hopes of making connections with teachers in Africa.
The response has been wonderful! For the past week Ann Marie and I have been bringing home armfuls of packages from the post office. All these packages contained pen pal letters. The photo above shows Pat, our smiling Post Office Manager, handing over some of today's shipment. Notice that Pat is wearing a Bridges of Peace and Hope tee shirt. As of today I have received more than 1000 letters from approximately 50 classrooms with more to arrive (or be dropped off) tomorrow. All the packages of letters include letters from the teachers too. The teachers letters include words like "thrilled," "excited," "can't wait to hear from you," and "we are eager to learn about you." There is a great deal of excitement building. So far I have received letters from
Newtown, Connecticut.... Edmeston, New York.... Hannibal, New York... Macomb, Michigan.... Carmel, NY... Danbury, Connecticut... Colona, Illinois.... Lanoka Harbor, New Jersy.... Craig, Colorado... Hillsborough, New Jersey..... New Milford, Connecticut... Yorktown Heights, New York... Craryville, New York... Lakeville, Connecticut... Georgetown, New York... Mayville, North Dakota... Edison, New Jersey.... Ridgefield, Connecticut
In the next three weeks I hope to make regular entries in this blog letting you know where I am and perhaps where some of your letters have gone. I leave from JFK in New York on Sunday, October 11 at 11:30 p.m. to fly to Paris, France. From there I fly to Johannesburg, South Africa, and then on to Lusaka, Zambia. From the time I leave home in Hillsdale, NY, on Sunday afternoon it will take approximately 36-40 hours to arrive in Lusaka, Zambia at 11 am local time on Tuesday morning. Look up these places I mentioned on a map or globe. I think you'll realize, as I do, that it is amazing that we can travel so far in such a short period of time. How long do you think that trip would have taken my great grandfather to make? He was born in 1870.