Saturday, February 22, 2014

1st visitor/School update

This morning I said goodbye to my mentor and friend from my home church and put her back on the bus for the 10 hour ride back to Nairobi so she can catch her flight tomorrow morning. It’s been so fun having a friend around to get to experience my life for a week, see village life, observe how school works and meet all of my friends here.

Unfortunately, this whole last week she had to experience, “hakuna maji” –there is no water. Normally water comes out of the tap.And it’s completely normal for it to be off, especially during the day or for a few days but we’re going on over a week now and it still hasn’t come back. We never received a notice on our door that it would be turned off or for how long, so we pray and wait. Until it comes back, we send our yellow buckets to the well across the street to be filled and then carried back on a pikipiki (motorcycle). Unfortunately we have to pay for this water. But we are thankful for the women of the church who help take care of us.

She also got to experience Kenyan food, some of it cooked by yours truly 

We went and visited one of the family’s of the church one afternoon and of course we were treated like kings and queens. They cut coconuts down from the tree behind their house and allowed us to enjoy. Yum!

We went and visited Salena in her tailoring school so she took a picture of her and I together.

Saturday we traveled by matatu and tuktuk up to Malindi so she could see the town and see the beautiful Indian ocean.

We shared the day with Scott, my fellow missionary at the coast and this was us at a chinese restaurant for lunch.

Of course she got to experience school! The first few days she was here I was still co-teaching with Salena. Here are some pictures she took of me teaching the music lesson.

She also got some great pictures of the kids in my class. Yesterday I started the day having them read books in pairs while I wrote in all their books the activity for the day. They actually listened, enjoyed it and I had to beg for the books back so we could move on!

Here I was explaining to Humphrey (orange shirt) how to tell the story using pictures…

And he listened and did a great job retelling the story to Denis(left) and Sefu (right). (my two youngest)

The kids did a great job today! I even had to leave my room a few times to sharpen pencils and everyone stayed inside, woohoo!!

After our language lesson this morning we went outside and practiced writing our letters in the dirt.

When we came back in I gave them their books to color the letters I had drawn for them… Once again a quiet, peaceful classroom.

Cheryl helped by passing out the crayons. This is also a time for the kids to learn their colors and the older ones have to say the color they want before they get.

I know its time to transition to a new lesson when this begins to happens…

And I was a pleasantly surprised that the older kids came in during their break and wanted to read books instead of playing outside.

Last night we invited the teachers and cook from the school and the elders in the church to join us for a final meal together before she left. I got to spend the afternoon preparing the food with the ladies. We sang my favorite Swahili hymn together, Usinipite (pass me not), shared some encouraging words and prayed together. I have to say having all my favorite people in our home to share a meal together made me a little emotional for a few reasons. One, Cheryl gets to greet you all with hugs very soon and two, I’m going to be a mess when my kwaheri comes and I have to say goodbye to them.

Afterwards we took a picture of those who were still around and of course Cheryl and I got a picture together!

Thank you Cheryl for coming, for putting up with the dirt, bucket showers, squatty potty, and culture shock! I am pleased at how well you did! Friends & family back home, you are more than welcome anytime, Karibu!

P.s- Here’s a link to my facebook where you can see a few videos she took of me teaching and explaining stuff in Swahili J My Swahili has really improved since the last videos!

Video 1  Video 2

School update

I’m pleased to inform you that school has much improved in the last week. I am loving getting to put together my own lesson plans and gaining a bit more control of my kiddos.

Here are some of my kids showing off their coloring of the shapes. I told them if they color well I will take their picture… I’ve never seen them work so hard! All their hard work is paying off though, they are currently taken their mid-term exams (yes even this age) and are doing very well!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

my own classroom!

This last week, the third classroom in our school was completed. The remaining “walls” made of tree leaves were put up and the classroom was enclosed and ready for use. (The question was… was I?)

My co-teacher Salena has been joking with me that every time we get a new student it is like I have “birthed” another child and its because I’m not taking family planning courses. Family planning is something that is much needed in this area and I love that she jokes with me about it because I know that means she’s comfortable enough with me to do so. Since I’ve returned we’ve gained at least 10 kids on our roster putting our count up to 46! (I wonder where this class is??) J

46 kids ranging from 2 years old to 8 years old in one small classroom with not enough benches and enough noise and needed attention make 2 teachers crazy at the end of each day. Wednesday we had a conversation and decided it would be good for me to take my own class.

So Thursday morning we met altogether for devotions and then split to two rooms. We took roll call and then she looked at me and said, “So you are going to take a class together of your own?” I smiled and said, “sure” with a grin of uneasiness and knew the task that was ahead of me was not going to be easy! We together choose 12 (now 13) kids who we call the “playgroup/baby class” and I took them to the newly finished classroom.

To say it was wild is an understatement! As I sat on the floor with maybe 8 of them paying attention, a few outside running around and a few climbing the walls (literally) I thought to myself, “this was a really bad idea!” I attempted to review the letter sounds of a, b, c, and d and the objects that go with them…apple, ball, cup and duck. I then asked for their books and drew pictures of each one for them to color.

As I handed out crayons and saw them independently working in their books, bringing them to me to show me how well they’ve done and then going back to do more made my heart so happy! Many of these kids (because of their young age in a class with so many other kids) had spent more time crying and fighting than learning. So to see all of them working on the ground, mumbling to themselves quietly, and running up to me with smiles instead of tears was amazing. I know we are going to have difficult moments but it was times such as these that I must cling to.

After language it was time for PE and so I took them outside where we jumped, stretched and did some running. I had them run to a tree, go around and then come back, and as they did they gave me a high five.

This little cutie below is my youngest, his name is Denis and this was the first smile I had seen all week. The other little boy Humphrey is his neighbor and has been his buddy since he started. He was there cheering him on as he finished, so awesome!

As the older kids came out to join us I released them for break time to play until the porridge was ready. It was at this point I realized I was exhausted! Between trying to keep 12 kids in the class, trying to come up with the Swahili to teach them and also the words to keep them under control… it was quite a lot of work!

As break came to a close I had just over an hour to until school was out. We sang a few songs, worked on counting a bit and then I gave them each a coloring picture from one of the coloring books I have for them to do some more independent work. They love this time and so do I!

For the last 10 minutes we all sat together and I asked each one of them (one at a time) to stand up and show up their paper they had colored. I complimented their work in front of all the other kids and we did our little clap that goes like this, “Well done well done try again another day, a very good boy/girl, a very good boy/girl, keep it up, keep it up”. I loved seeing them get the attention they so need, the positive reinforcement they crave and the opportunity to show off their work. Their faces during these last few minutes were priceless! (And I’ve decided this is how we will end each day).

It was now time for them to go home so I told them, “Tuomba” –let us pray, “funga macho” –close your eyes, and said a line in English and then translated it into Swahili. As I say Amen it is a tradition that we do to say “grace”… “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us now and forever, Amen.” They repeated each line after me and as we finished I looked up to none of the kids moving! I’m not sure what they wanted but I’m so used to the kids dashing out of the classroom that I wasn’t sure what to do when they all stayed! I waived and said goodbye and they repeated after me, we all smiled, shook hands and then left the class pamoja(together). I would say that is a success!

To say Friday went as well as closing time would be a lie. They are definitely trying to get away with whatever they can but I reward good behavior and efforts with a little treat (sweet or nuts) and I hope and pray that within a few weeks we can have a great class that is structured, that is fun, and that promotes great amounts of learning! May God receive all the glory as He works in us all to be more like Him.

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