Friday, August 28, 2009

Teddy Kennedy

It is with sadness that I write today about Senator Kennedy's connection to our Sierra Leone experience.  We arrived at the Holy Rosary Secondary School in Kenema in August 1968 as the first Peace Corp volunteers to teach at this newly established school. In those days we had one form (in the U.S. this is equivalent to one grade) - form one. There were about 30 or so students and we were the only lay teachers. At some point early in that first year Susan's aunt offered us a large number of books for the fledgling library at the school. However, getting them to us in Sierra Leone was another problem.  At best routine mail took 6 weeks to reach us, with packages taking as long as 3 months. And cost of such a mailing of books would be exorbitant. It was Teddy Kennedy who came to HRSS's aid with no fanfare and personally paid to get the books to our library. He paid out of his pocket and the many books arrived in great shape. I suspect many of those books are still in that library. Somehow, Susan's aunt had gotten word to the Kennedy office that two PCVs, from Massachusetts were in West Africa teaching in an upcountry school that needed these books and that was all.  With Teddy's death this week, this memory of his generosity and connection deserves to be a part of this site. In 1968 he was a young Senator from Massachusetts who had already lost two brothers. I wonder if any of the current students at HRSS realize this connection. 


Sia G. said...

I have always been a great admirer of the late Senator Ted Kennedy and the Kennedy family as a whole.I always thought they genuinely cared for humanity regardless of national origin or political/economic status,again I've been proven right. I am very happy to know that I could have read and benefited from some of those books young Senator Ted Kennedy paid for out of pocket, to have shipped to a small Library of a School upcountry called HRSS, which i attended in the 80s. Thank you very much Chad for this great revelation and connection to such a great human being. I hope the present students will cherish and make good use of all the books in the library in honor of the generous Senator Ted Kennedy. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE AND LET PERPECTUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON HIM,AMEN. (A prayer I was taught by the Holy Rosary Sisters at HRSS, Kenema).Senator Teddy Kennedy will be greatly missed.

cf said...

thanks for your posting. Please forward site address to your friends and prior HRSS schoolmates. Thanks