We miss our friends Bill and Kim who were here with us last year and went home in June. They are our age with kids our age and we shared a similar love for adventure and music. We also shared a similar faith, which is also nice.

Both Kim and Bill were principals in Canada, Bill retiring a few years ago and Kim retiring just days before they flew to Malaysia. Both of them brought a level of competence and caring to the school where I teach that made a lasting impact on this educational environment. I was here in time to seeing the last regime at the school, and it wasn’t a pretty picture: angry and disappointed teachers; a spirit of selfishness and insularity that resisted change and innovation; acrimony and discord throughout the program.

Bill and Kim would have none of that. Their cheerful competence and get-it-done attitude swept through this place like a cleansing breeze. Clean-up days and class trips were organized; extra sessions laid on for English training; even staff meetings became more positive and goal-oriented. They just had no room in their busy lives for negative nonsense, and it simply disappeared. The new crop of teachers never knew anything different and they simply kept pace. The result is that we now have a different attitude here that is Bill and Kim’s lasting contribution to this school.

Although they have gone back to Canada, Bill and Kim are still impacting this program. They started a support group in Canada for Malaysian students who graduated from this program and are now studying in Canada. Recently they rented a bus and invited the ones who were in the Toronto area out to their house for a get together. Forty-five of them showed up! Our friends Ken and Susan, who were also part of the sea change that happened here, did a similar thing in Montreal, hosting thirty-five of them.

We miss our friends from last year, but we are grateful for the impact for good that they have had on so many lives in Malaysia and back in Canada. It is amazing what two caring people can do, and we are fortunate to count them among our friends.