Justice and Good Leaders

Last week I put in a request to our administration to pay the excess for repairing my car window, broken accidentally by the garden services a month back. This morning the college president dropped by to say it had been approved.

But he also mentioned something that had come up in the discussion, that he felt very bad about.

You see, at the beginning of last year I was in charge of getting student visas renewed. I wasn't in charge of student's wives visas, but happened to have to take one through for renewal - only to find out it was late, and there was a fine involved. A R1,500 fine! Well, we headed back to the college, I went to see the acting president, and was told that it would be taken off my salary.

It just about killed me, as I was barely clearing R2,500 at the time. Things went rapidly downhill from there, and we had the toughest financial year ever. We also experienced the biggest blessings from God during this time - not only being surrounded by prayer and incredible support, but also given cash at crucial times that helped us survive (there was one week where we had no food in the house, other than enough bread for my son - I managed on a slice or so a day, and not much else, but help arrived later that week and we were able to eat again). During that time I felt the closest to God I ever have. There was nothing I could do, and I had to depend completely on Him. I was left with an amazing sense of peace, in spite of the extreme situation we were in.

We have yet to financially recover from this blow. Although my salary is now a bit more than what I was receiving then, we ended up going into our bank overdrafts to cope, and are still trying to get back on our feet. This coming year may be the first time we will be able to since then.

Well, the current president heard about my having to pay this fine during the meeting in which the window refund was discussed. And he was horrified! He apologized profusely for the way I was treated, and said although he can't change the past he deeply regrets what I was put through.

(He wants the money I've requested taken off the garden guy's salary - one policy applied to all such "refund" situations, but I've told him that I would rather not take it if that's the case - the garden folk earn very, very little and this would be awful for him! I can cope better without it than he can.)

This man is an amazing leader and person. Not only is he very fair and considerate, but he is approachable, open and honest, and looks to treat people the best he can in any situation. He has had a lot of very hard stuff to deal with since arriving here. He has had to adjust to an unknown culture (he's American, but his wife is South Africa) and deal with unexpected challenges. But he has maintained his integrity and openness, working very hard for across-the-board justice and the best that can be achieved. He is the epitomy of a good leader, especially for this particular institution. He is someone we can respect and look up to, but he's not so high above us that we feel low and downtrodden.

Personally, I appreciate the many times he has fought for me, for what is right and good and will make my job that much easier.

Thanks boss! Hats off to you.