Beginnings and an Endings

This week marks the 4 year anniversary of us coming here from Texas, 2 suitcases in hand and a bucket full of naivete.

4 years ago is also when we went searching for adequate education for the 4 kids, which we somewhat found in the then frail Omololu  International school which was then operating out of temporary housing, one large room with grades K – 6th.

While the school had a long history of success, it had hit some hard times and was reduced to the then “barely functional” status with about 34 student.

Since then, a group of parents, the school’s founder and other community members have put our blood, sweat, tears, money and time into growing this institution with a special spirit, into a blossoming International school with 95 students in our new permanent site you see below. Many of you actually helped build it also in the form of a donation to the “Anguilla Luxury Raffle” that took place last year and for that I will forever be grateful. I wish you all could come visit, walk into that gate and feel the welcome, sense the spirit, enthusiasm and community that lives there. You would be so proud!

It’s taken us almost a year to accomplish but we recently received a $450K building grant from the Windsong Foundation, which has helped us construct and move into the school site you see below.

We’ve hired wonderful staff, created a board, got land from the Government of Anguilla and turned Omololu into an amazing place for local, regional and foreign children on the island, including special needs kids who previously had no place to get the attention they need. Omololu does have a long history of up’s and downs and I have no doubt that we’re not done struggling but if anyone had told me or anyone else that this is what we would be able to accomplish and leave behind for the next generation, I would have called you insane.

ois

The “next generation” bit is particularly heart breaking to me today, as my sons are right now spending their last few hours at Omololu. This afternoon we are leaving for Switzerland for 5 weeks on our first big family trip, our first visit to Switzerland in 6 years and our last few weeks together as a family in this configuration.

My oldest is done with 6th grade and here in Anguilla where we have the UK school system, that means he now has to go to high school, for which there is currently no feasible alternative on island. So the boys are moving back to the US with their Dad as soon as we get back from Switzerland.

boys

I’m not entirely sure what our household is going to look and feel like. I cannot imagine life without those two. But it’s the right thing to do for the boys, for their Dad, for their education and hence for us.

And if Anguilla has taught us one thing, it’s adaptation, creative problem solving and resilience.

wild things

Every end is also the beginning of something new.

I don’t know how the girls and I will cope without all the wild things – but we will.

Author: akafrancie

Originally Swiss, recovering Caribbean island inhabitant. Amateur zoo keeper. Probably under-caffeinated, always hungry and curious. Interested in technology, collaboration and connecting people. Resourcefulness is my super power.

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