Folastar has been keeping an eye on locations that might work for the school he dreams of. There are plenty of derelict and disused buildings in his home town and other impoverished areas under the domain of Meithsal authorities. But he has always seen, at a glance, just how many of these buildings are beyond repair. Waterlogged rooms, rotting floorboards, structural instabilities – all quite unsafe for students. The work and expense involved in bringing them up to an acceptable standard would be quite beyond his means.
He has enough to cover his living expenses – maintain his small apartment and a personal vakel that he recently bought, which has made his travel and his field assignments to remote areas much easier. Anything he has ever earned beyond his immediate needs, he has sent home to his family.
Over the years, this has enabled his mother, Aima, to buy essential things for the house and enabled his father, Tenmios, to replace some of his worn-out fishing equipment, to fix his boat and make his journeys safer. He is too old to be going out on so many unwise journeys. Folastar worries about him sometimes – tries to discourage him whenever he can and gently suggest that he might soon look towards retirement, but Tenmios never listens.
Folastar has no regrets about having sent the bulk of income to his family – it gladdens him to see how they have benefited from it – but he does not have enough to fund the extensive repairs that would need to be done on any of the buildings he has looked at. And even if he did, by some miracle, find a building he could bring up to standard, there would then be the matter of securing appropriate educational materials, equipment, staff. There are grants he could apply for … but grants to impoverished areas are rarely given, because it doesn’t benefit the political class of Meithsal electorally or politically. He has learned that well during his time in the city. He loves the idea of a school being located right in the centre of the old fishing district, providing children in the area with a better education, but the practicalities of such a scheme weigh heavily on him – he doesn’t see how it would ever work.
Folastar knows that if the school were founded in his home town, he could call on the assistance of neighbours and family friends, but he is reluctant to ask for help – a habit he developed in his younger years of training for the priesthood, when the importance of being stoic, strong, and willing to forget himself and his fears was heavily impressed upon him. He never wanted to show his distress as a novice struggling with his workload …and crucially, never wanted his family to worry about him.
He prays on the problem all the time, reflects on it, asks God what His plan for the school is – if this is indeed what Folastar is being called to do. But a clear answer has yet to arise. Folastar is not impatient about that – he trusts in God, and is sure that all he needs to do will be revealed to him in time – but as his graduation date draws nearer, the worry is weighing upon him more and more often. It will soon be time for him to make a clear decision about his future. Perhaps he should work in a Meithsal temple for some time, build up more experience, before he decides to move forward with his ultimate dream?
Folastar shakes himself as he thinks of all this. He has gone down this thought spiral too many times before. This evening, he will not worry about it. He is leaving Meithsal – he is going to spend time with his family.
Another instalment of The Ballroom Project, continuing Folastar’s story.