Saving the world

When I was 20, I thought I could save the world. That’s the beauty of being 20.

I have more modest aspirations now. Maybe I can do some good where I live.  I think I have a positive impact because I say “yes” to  unlikely or unexpected situations. Opportunity. You seize the chances that cross your path.

Enter Pierre Nzuah.

Pierre at our kitchen table.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s very much a two-way street. Pierre joined us at the farm when he finished his first semester at SUNY Canton and needed a place to stay and work this summer. He joined us as a farm apprentice a few days ago. We’re trying to help him figure out how to continue at SUNY Canton. If we can help him even a little bit, it will make me feel really good…because Pierre, who is 26, has been trying to get a college education ever since he finished high school in Cameroon. Finally, he made it to Canton for the spring semester, thanks to a private sponsor.  That sponsor is no longer able to help Pierre.

I think Pierre would say he is grateful for the opportunity to come to Canton, and to stay at the farm. I am incredibly grateful to get to know Pierre. Listen to this: within three days of being with us, he has driven a tractor for the first time, driven a car for the first time, used tools like a weed-eater and lawn mower for the first time, eaten his first asparagus (Cameroon, of course, is an equatorial country…no asparagus). He may think it’s fun to drive a tractor but do you know how much fun it is to see someone learning a skill like this? Holy cow.

Pierre driving, Billy McNamara escorting.

Billy McNamara, who just received his degree from St. Lawrence University, is also spending a month with us. He had the pleasure (it was a pleasure, Billy, wasn’t it?) of giving Pierre his first car driving lesson.

The things we take for granted: cars, college, lawn mowers…asparagus.

I’ll keep you posted on Pierre’s farm escapades…oh, by the way, Pierre did not much care for asparagus, but he LOVED driving a car.

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2 Comments on “Saving the world”

  1. Hank says:

    Thanks, Ellen. A great little story about adapting to new experiences and making a difference.

    Oh, and tell Pierre, asparagus is definitely an acquired taste!

  2. jill vaughan says:

    I love meaningful, hands-on help that is a wise and practical person’s reaction to need. Theory and philosophy have their place, but show me someone who feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, and comforts the lonely, and I’ll listen to their philosophies first.

    As they sang in “Oliver”-

    “Consider yourself…well in.. consider yourself.. part of the family..” and so on. Keeping ourselves soft so there is a soft place for others to land.

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