Meeting the Paras – an important piece to our puzzle

As Professor Temple wrote a few weeks ago, here, we are now in contact with a local troop from Sarasota, LTjg Greg Para, who will be the one doing the footwork to bring the supplies to the kids who need it. When we first started the project, there was the realization that we were helping not only the kids who needed it but we were also helping our troops who are working to bring peace and goodwill but it was still in a way outside of us. Yes, we were gathering materials but we didn’t know the kids nor did we know the names on the labels to which we were writing customs forms for. That has now all changed.

Greg Para speaking to a class at USF about his experience with schools in Afghanistan. His wife Pearl standing next to him. Photo Courtesy- Liisa Temple 2012

Last week I had the pleasure to meet both Greg and his wife Pearl after exchanging weeks of emails and it was awesome. Not only are they both amazingly kind people who have such a heart for education, but it makes this experience so much more subjective to put a face on the person who will be passing these supplies onto the kids. By knowing the person who will be continuing what we start in our class gives us a way to live vicariously through them. We will be able to go with him to meet the kids and put the tools into their hands. It’s probably safe to say that at most maybe only one of us in the class will ever be able to physically go to Afghanistan, and we’ll most likely never ever meet any of the kids that these pens and papers meet but we are going through him. He has become our means to meet these children and he will be the one that brings them our well wishes and our care.

Two of our heros. SMSgt Rex Temple on the left and LTjg Greg Para on the right. Photo Courtesy- Liisa Temple 2012

I feel that now we have a complete picture. I am able to place a face to each part of this project. Our project. The things that we collect here no longer belong to the 10 of us but belongs to us along with the Paras, the mail carriers, and the many people whose help will be needed along the way. This task belongs to all of us. We each have a unique piece in this puzzle that results in a picture of a better future. For us, for them, is it too bold to say the world? One can always hope that we have such an impact on the world.

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About Phoebe

I'm a student at the University of South Florida majoring in Biomedical Sciences. I would like to be a Speech Language Pathologist in the future. In my spare time I enjoy learning new things, meeting new people, spending time with my family and traveling. Oh, and a good book is always a plus!
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