Mr. Phiri

Mr. Phiri (sounds like "Peiry")  is a very humble and  important man.  You can see it in his posture, his dress, and his confidence. He is well educated. He was educated in the states and has a Masters Degree in linguistics.  According to those who know him, Mr  Phiri always seems to have a smile and never seems flustered. He reportedly does well delegating responsibility, which, to me, indicates a natural leader. Mr. Phiri  is superintendent of The Mission, which includes the schools, clinics, and hospitals. He knows a lot of people, understands the law, and has much respect for those who help The Namwianga Mission.  He owns and operates a farm near Choma, is in charge of the water supply, the radio station, and runs the farm at The Mission. Needless to say,  he is somewhat of an entrepreneur.  As busy as he is, Mr. Phiri almost always makes time for Ian, Dan's 15 year old. Ian reports that Mr. Phiri is easy to talk to and is interested in and helped him with his Eagle Scout project.  Ian says, "...he does what he can to help". Mr. Phiri is held in high regard. He is definitely "a mover and shaker" -- a major influence in this community. And, he is a promoter of speech-language pathology in this area! And, as Beckie says, "He gets it"! On their exploratory trip to discover the possibility of services in Zambia, Dan, Beckie, and Sarah met Mr. Phiri in the fall of 2007. Following introductions and a welcome dinner at "Miss" Ellie's house on their first night, Mr. Phiri reported that he thought the possiblity of services for the infants, babies, and toddlers is a "gift from God". Mr. Phiri's team had been told they must come up with a new program and they had  exhausted all of their options. Speech-language therapy at The Mission seemed to be just what they needed. That year Mr. Phiri accompanied Dan, Beckie, and Sarah to Lusaka to meet the Minister of Education (they were even interviewed on the Zambian TV). Since then Dan and Beckie have maintained and deepened their friendship with Mr. Phiri.  I was honored to have met and visited with Mr. Phiri at breakfast yesterday. 

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I am a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist with 36 years of experience and I am about to embark on the experience of a lifetime!

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