Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You can't make this stuff up...

Yesterday I was teaching junior music, and it wasn't going particularly well, when one of those things they don't prepare your for in teacher school occurred. A little kingfisher flew in the window and started wildly circling the hall much to the kids delight. As I tried (vainly) to regain some control of the situation, the bird in a frantic burst of energy flew into a wall and either killed itself or knocked itself out. One little first grade boy promptly ran over, picked it up, and brought it to me surrounded by a knot of chattering first and second graders. I grabbed his wrist, escorted him to the window, and firmly informed him that we do NOT pick up dead birds as I had him release it. Never a dull moment...

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I took a very long nap today, and I'm feeling much better. I've been so tired this week, and I think it's partially because I'm adjusting back to the high altitude, and partially because I'm a teacher.

The new students are doing better now at following school rules and behaving, but I'm finding the change from the end of the year to the beginning quite big. That's one reason why I left myself sleep so long today; I need all the energy I can get to teach right now.

It's been so rainy recently, and everything seems damp. I have a leak in my roof that I kind of knew about, but when I saw the mushroom growing in the corner of the ceiling I knew it was time to put it on the maintenance list!

I'm working on teaching the 3rd and 4th grade girls how to do spool knitting, and I can't wait till they all get their knitting out the bottom of their spools so it will be more secure. I spent a lot of time putting the knitting back on the pegs and pulling it it out and making them start again after tangles beyond the realm of reasonable rescue were made. I like working with that age group, but 15 little high needs girls can be quite the challenge sometimes. Good thing the 4th graders are pretty competent already!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 2012 Update

Dear Friends and Family,

As I start my third year at Sakeji Mission School, I’m amazed at how fast the time has gone and how much I’ve experienced and learned since I arrived in Zambia on January 2, 2010. It seems like just yesterday that I faced my very first classroom full of kids and was trying to learn all the names of our students. This year I’m teaching the same children I had last year, but different grades—I’m the 6th and 7th homeroom teacher now. There are more than a dozen new student to get to know, and two new short term staff members who have joined our team. There are lots of changes in many areas going on around the school, but the comforting constant in all this change is our risen Savior who is the reason that we are laboring and praying over these children.

Since the children started arriving on Tuesday morning, we have been enjoying the process of reconnecting with our returning students, and working through the challenges of getting to know our new pupils. This year the language barrier is not as pronounced as it was last year, but discipline has been an issue. Routines that run smoothly at the end of the year are complicated by young children who have never been asked to eat with silverware, finish their food, follow playground rules, and sit still for more than five minutes. I am reminded how important my interactions with the children outside the classroom are—I am becoming a parent to these little ones and helping them learn the skills that they will need in their adult lives. While asking a squirmy first grader for the twentieth time to take another bite makes me glad to ‘escape’ to the maturity of my upper school classroom, I’m thankful that I can be a part of the process that made my students into the people that they are today. Watching the older children pitch in and help the new ones learn the ropes is also encouraging—what I am teaching a first grader today will be passed on in a few years time. I never cease to marvel at the importance of my job, and that parents entrust their precious children to my care.

Our new dining hall is now in full use, and the kids have been enjoying the new space as well as quickly picking the new routines. The next major project that we will begin tackling later this term is re-roofing our dorm. The leaks have been bad for years, and it is not uncommon for kids to wake up and find mini lakes in their rooms. There are dozens of buckets dotting the rafters under known drips, but more keep starting every rainy season. Patching the roof is also a dubious process—walking on the roof to get to leaks often causes more! The Lord has provided the sheet metal for the roof, and a team from Canada that will be heading out around March to give a hand with the work. Once again God is proving to us that He can do the impossible!

This December I had the chance to go home for Christmas and reconnect with friends and family. It was a lovely time, but all too short as I tried to buy things for my classroom, replace clothes that have worn out (Africa is very hard on clothes!), and spend time with the many people who are an important part of my life. Highlights of my visit included Christmas with my immediate family and grandparents, going to my cousin’s wedding in Greenville, and getting to see relatives I hadn’t seen in several years. Many of my friends took the time to drop in for a visit, and of course I had a nice time being at my home assembly.
While it was lovely to be home, I’m excited to be back home in Zambia and facing a new year of serving at Sakeji Mission School. Thank you so much for all your prayers, gifts, and the time you gave me while I was in Texas. God is continually blessing me through the people He has brought into my life—you! May He find us faithful wherever we are,


Monday, January 9, 2012

The kids arrive tomorrow...

Today I:

*Got all my bulletin boards up and ready--I'm SO glad I brought some new boarder with me.

*Took care of some 'administrivia', picked out work books for different subjects, and organized most of the disaster that was my desk after last term.

*Broke off some more of the tooth that I broke while eating a sandwich on Sunday--it wasn't even toasted! The good news is that it doesn't hurt much at all; hopefully I can get it taken care of in April when I have to go to town for my work permit.

I'm looking forward to this new term with the kids, and getting to know our two new short termers. Prayers for good integration, wisdom for the teachers, and help with the many projects on station are appreciated. Prayers for the missionaries as they work through the new Zambian emigration laws would also be appreciated.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Random thoughts and impressions of an overseas trip

*Saying goodbye is really hard to do; saying goodbye to half your family and your 'core' family in the same day is even harder.

*My cousins married some great people--I just wish I had more time to get to know them!

*I managed to quell the temptation to vindictively kick the back of the relining guy's chair when he finally saw fit to return to it after a few hours of personles reclining on my knees. THINK people!

*London is really cool to fly over--I could recognize several landmarks including the Gherkin!

*Westminster Abbey was jam packed full of people which made it a less than ideal sight seeing trip, but SO worth it all the same.

*The sight of several hundred people all holding an audio guide to their ear and whipping around trying to see what's being described is rather amusing. Also, hearing arrogant Americans loudly explaining British history incorrectly is also amusing.

*I still love riding the Tube! Even though I almost fell asleep several times on the return journey...

*The flight from London to Jo-burg is REALLY LONG.

*Why do you panic and feel sure you'll forget what your luggage looks like when you're standing in front of a baggage carousel? Or maybe I'm the only person this happens to EVERY SINGLE TIME.

*I officially take back half of the stuff I said about my luggage being ghetto--Zambian luggage is even more disreputable than mine!

*Lusaka airport looks like it's in the middle of nowhere compared to London, Jo-burg and Atlanta.

*I'm so very glad to be home.

*I can't wait till it's late enough for me to go to bed and not have bad jet-lag issues.