It was with a feeling of new possibilities that my family returned in late 2005 to our ruined city, confident that we would help to rebuild it better. We desperately needed political, judicial, and educational reform. I was bitterly disappointed as one after another old problem crept back in. Crime and corruption seemed as rampant as ever and the bad old days seemed to be back to stay.
In the last year, though, I've come to realize that I was wrong. Reform is taking hold; it just didn't happen as fast as I thought it would. It takes years to turn around a system so broken, decades even, but it's already starting to show.
|Moving Slide Into Place|
When it first reopened, it seemed to be more of the same. During morning arrival and afternoon dismissal, slouching kids would loiter around the entrance. Their dress was slovenly, they would litter on the street, and the way the boys talked to the girls -- so disrespectful.
In the last two years, there has been a change for the better. In the mornings and afternoons, teachers are outside smiling and chatting with the children, parents, and bus drivers. The kids are mannerly and pleasant to the neighbors. Academics are measurably improved. The principal doesn't crow about the achievement gains, though, because she's not satisfied with where they are -- yet.
|Painting a Really Cool Hop Scotch Board|
|Starting to Look Like Something!|