Last night (Friday, November 15), we heard childhood stories of surviving war, loss of home, the resilient power of human spirit to create and organize when all seems lost. The Penobscot Language School hosted the Maine Women from Latvia who shared their love of homeland, old and new, and how that love lives deeply in them. They not only told their stories but they prepared a Latvian meal for all attending.

The school was overflowing with folks who came to support this fundraiser. We sang the American national anthem and then the Latvian national anthem. Each woman told of harrowing childhood experiences leaving her beloved country to find safety and then ultimately find it here in America. Latvian culture expressed through the food, the stories, and their presence in Maine gave nourishment on many levels. The community who gathered to support the school is itself a gift; the breaking of bread together, shared experiences of those living here, the culture of Rockland.

The school is alive and well. Local people, as well as people from around the world, are meeting on Gay Street in Rockland, Maine, to learn languages, share culture classes and have immersion experiences to deepen a shared understanding while staying with host families in our area. This is all available right here at Penobscot Language School for the enrichment and enlivenment of all who wish to come through the doors. Thank you, one and all, who created the school, and for those who are keeping it growing. And thank you Maine Women of Latvia. Brava!

Skye Hirst, Rockland