Facing me sits Chloe. She's fourteen, maybe fifteen, and her eyes, like herself, are seeking refuge. We've talked before and I know why. She comes from another 'educational centre', a place where things were very different, where a teacher can make you believe you're good for nothing, where you can feel lonely, where every morning is the same as the one before. We're sitting face to face, surrounded by silence, and she tells me about a day when she was happy again, in this other school, a small school, almost hidden. 'They want me here', she says, and her eyes dance.
During our journey abroad, whenever someone we'd met along the way asked us how we had come up with the idea of embarking on this adventure, Diana and I would look at each other with a certain degree of anxiety, as if hoping the other one would answer because, frankly, we were starting to forget how it happened.
As I promised some months ago, I'm going to share with you some aspects of the logistics and planning of our trip. These are many and diverse, but since I don't want to go on endlessly, any curiosity, doubt or suggestion you may have, please send it to us via the comments below. It would have been awesome to have a list like this beforehand, and would have saved us so much googling! So we hope it will be useful to you if you ever plan on doing something similar.
Year 2005. South of England. In the small town of Marlborough, the statements on homework of a secondary school headteacher instigate a revolution in Education. Supporters of the Old Regime, in an attempt to hold back his ideas, accuse the headteacher of 'wrecking education and wasting taxpayers money'. But the paradigm change is already unstoppable.
We've made it! We're back home. As I got off the saddle I felt the impulse of kissing my bike –my companion during so many hours, with whom I have spent such good times, and with whom I have shared so much sweat. I feel happy that the three of us are here, now, back home, because it means everything has gone fine, that the only thing we've lost along the way has been fear and indecision, and we've found so much instead...
You won't see bored-looking students, doors that shut and open only when the bell rings, or teachers giving lectures. But what you certainly might find at De Vallei is any of the children sitting at the principal's desk, using the computer, while others run around the garden or read comics on a couch. If your listen carefully, you might even hear the sound of a piano coming from some corner of this school where every child has a voice in the decisions affecting him or her, is resposible of following the rules that have been decided by all, and knows that adults aren't there to impose or to judge, but to accompany and to help.