Monday, October 31, 2011

Today was a good day.

Today there were no big storms, and in addition to surviving my morning classes, I had a fairly productive afternoon. I took two of the short term girls into Ikelenge as I was running low on some staples, and I managed to find not only sugar and Blue Band (a margarine of sorts), but FLOUR. I had asked around all over the place, but finally in a little hole in the wall behind the main row of shops I was successful. Score! You learn to define successful days a little differently out here--finding even one thing you are shopping for is considered success, finding all of them is amazing. I also enjoyed a nice drive to and from 'town,' a mini nap, some quality time with my cat, and a lovely evening with Jill and Bethany in which we laughed ourselves silly at the book we are reading. Good times!

It's only a month till the end of term--I can't wait!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nothing like a good lightning storm...

Last night we had a really sever lightning storm—as in the school itself must have been struck a few times. I had just fallen asleep when I was woken up by the bright-as-day flashes and house shaking booms. I was so tired I wasn’t really concerned about the terrifying raw power being displayed outside my window, but I did remember with comfort that my laptop wasn’t plugged in! There was one flash in particular that was just amazing—the room was full of blinding light and I heard a loud POP by my head where my lamp was. After that I knew the 240 power was out since the lights outside were off.

The really creepy thing was that I have this little rubber ducky keychain with two little metal contacts on the bottom that lights up when you touch it to complete the circuit. Well, this keychain was on my wooden bedside table by my wooden lamp base, and after that POP the keychain lit up. I had my eyes closed at the time, but I think my lamp might have sparked as well. I just lay there looking at my flashing duck and thinking about how much electricity had just amassed beside my head. Some of the short termers said they saw bolts of electricity jumping from socket to socket in their house, and they also said their burglar bars were stuck. When we have storms out here, we have STORMS!

I’m working on getting rid of yet another cold and trying to keep myself organized and caught up so I won’t get too swamped at the end of term. So much has to happen in the next month—it’s going to be insane! The second half-term, the end of term show, interviews, exams, and the hundred and one things that go into finishing up a term. Oh well, you can do anything for a short period of time, and I’m going to have a nice break afterwards. How did this year slip by so fast—it seems like just yesterday we were celebrating new years, and not it’s almost gone!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lots of random things...

Sorry--it's been far too long, but by the time I stagger home at the end of the day, the last thing I feel like doing is lugging the laptop to the admin to do internet stuff. Here are a few snapshots of things that have been going on in the past several weeks:

*The rains have started again and what was a brown, dry land is becoming lush and green again. Love it!

*I got stung by a scorpion on my foot--ouch! My foot really hurt that night, but by the next day was just all weird and tingly. No, I did not eat the tail. Yes, scorpion stings are pretty much as bad as everyone says they are!

*I had a very trying weekend that involved a stupid decision made by one of my students that had the whole school in an uproar, and interrupted many people's evening plans. We are continuing to pray for the Lord's work in this student's heart and mind--he is a Christian, but he really needs the Lord right now!

*I undertook a new ministry this last weekend that I think will be very exciting, but very challenging for the first bit. On my weekends off I'm teaching some of the 'grans' over at the orphanage to knit--in semi-Lunda! Any prayers sent my way regarding wisdom, stamina, and the ability to retain the language would be appreciated! I've taught many people how to knit, but never armed with the sole words "to knit" and "knot." Good thing my life is never boring...

*I survived birthday party as a lion--fully made up face and southern lady hair and everything! I also survived the sugar overdoes caused by ingesting kids birthday cake (the more candy the better!), and the whopping cold someone very considerately passed along to me. I'm really hoping that this means that I'm not going to be sick in December... Pass the oil of oregano, will you? Or the euthanasia...I mean echinacea!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October Newsletter

It’s hard to believe that third term is already a third over, but our first half-term has come and gone and we are looking forward to Independence Day on October 24th. The children have settled in well, and there has been some marked improvement in some students who were really struggling earlier in the year. This is the term of the dreaded grade 7 and 9 exams, so our seniors are well on their way in test preparation. These national exams are very important—if a student fails to pass them in the limited amount of re-takes they will not be able to progress in their education. The tests are in English which is a stumbling block for many of the village students, and the English is poorly written and sometimes the answers on the test are wrong! Our students have always passed with flying colors despite the difficulties with the questions, but it is still a very anxious time for them. Our one grade 9 student will have to write her exams in Ikelenge as we have not managed to get our registration as a grade 9 exam center to go through yet.

The Lunda week at Kalene in August was a difficult time, but I think as I have time to work on what I learned it will be quite helpful. It was interesting to see where some of the kids English problems come from—one example is that Lunda has no distinction between male and female pronouns, so it’s quite common for the kids to call girls ‘he’ and vice versa. It was really overwhelming to get the whole structure of a language in 5 days, but I’ve already noticed that I can pick out a few more words in the sermons, and have a slightly larger vocabulary. I will continue listening and adding words as I’m able—if the Lord could give a donkey speech, I guess He can help me learn Lunda!

The new dining hall is coming along well—there was a little bit of a scramble to get the rest of the roof on before the rains came, but thankfully all is secured now and it can rain as much as it likes! Most of the work is centering on finishing the inside now—all the wiring, tiles on the walls, painting, and things like that. We still have Jim from the UK here helping us as well as Michael, a Sakeji Alum whose parents served here for a few years. There will be a team coming out from Canada, Lord willing, to help us re-roof the dorm sometime in the next few months. This will be an interesting challenge during the rainy season, but it has been a huge need for several years now. The Lord has showed His mighty hand in providing all the sheet metal for the roof, and workers willing to give up some of their time to come help put it up. We continue to pray for safety on the job site and for the team assembling to come help us out with the roof.

We have some other short term helpers with us now—three girls have come out form Vancouver to help for most of the term, so we are keeping them busy with projects, marking, games, and child supervision. We are still praying about a permanent 3rd and 4th grade teacher, and some day in the future splitting grade 1 and 2 into separate classes. Our grade 9 plans are still very much up in the air; we really need another teacher if we are going to add that program, and we would need to be able to register as a grade 9 test center. There are so many things to do both here at the school, and in the surrounding area—please continue to pray for us as we seek the Lord’s direction in these things, and wait for Him to raise up the right people at the right time.

Thanks so much for all the notes of encouragement, prayer and gifts that you have sent my way this year. It means so much to know that you are thinking of me as I serve the Lord at Sakeji.

May He find us faithful wherever we are.