Wednesday, October 21, 2009
team 3: meet eddie
"When I retired some years ago, it wasn’t to avoid working. Rather it was to give me the time to try new things – to have fun and to make a difference. I have no doubt this adventure to Uganda with Change the Truth will allow me to do both. Adventurous is not a word most people would associate with me. I lived most of my professional life behind a desk! But for the past three years I have watched how the experience of being at St. Mary Kevin has changed the lives of Gloria and the other CTT volunteers and most especially how they have made a profound difference in the lives of the children who call SMK home. I don’t know – I may be way out of my comfort zone but I cannot wait to begin!
While there I hope to work with the orphanage leadership to better understand the current and future needs of the children and the orphanage. I want to assemble a multi-year strategic plan for CTT that will clarify our fundraising goals and prioritize the projects we take on over the next three to five years. I also hope to be able to assist with some needed upgrades to the SMK computer lab, install new mosquito netting for all the children and work in the garden. Most of the time though, I plan to just hang out with the kids doing art projects, reading, making music, dancing and getting to know one another – building relationships that I hope will last a long, long time.
It may be selfish, I know, but I also really look forward to just sitting back and watching my wife 'Mama Gloria' do her thing. I, like so many others, am amazed at what she has been able to accomplish. Thanks to her each of us on this journey will have fun and make a difference. This poem, by Marge Piercy, helps guide me on the path."
TO BE OF USE
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
[Eddie retired from H&R Block in 2004 after 29 years in management. He has since been the Executive Director of Jewish Family Services, a reading teacher, a culinary student and now works seasonally for the IRS. He does a lot of volunteer work and sits on several boards, including that of Change the Truth.]