When first testing the idea of partnership housing, Millard Fuller brought home a new tradition from the Democratic Republic of the Congo: the word “Oyee.” Used to express excitement, joy, and gratitude, it is often shouted with the left fist raised in the air.
After Millard brought the now-infamous word to the Fuller Center, it was quickly adopted by the Bike Adventure, where 2016 whole-way rider Gloria Mesick encountered the word for the first time.
On the Bike Adventure, the word is often used to commend other riders for supportive acts, from helping out with a flat tire to filling up a water bottle. Having seen the community-building potential the word holds, Gloria decided to bring the word home to Bettendorf, IA, and into her 3rd grade classroom.
“I started the oyees with the children during our Morning Meetings.,” Gloria explained. “I feel it has really helped them think throughout the day how their classmates have been kind to them.”
“I believe it is building a community of children who care for and help one another,” Gloria expressed of the potential long-term effects of the exercise.