Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Let the teaching begin!

Hi Everyone!

Greetings from Kiabakari! Sorry for the much needed update! The past few weeks have FLOWN by- I simply cannot believe it’s been 5 months already-- I have been quite busy!

I’m still getting things to make it seem more homey in my house- it helps to have some pictures of family friends!! : -) My house is nice though some things I’ve experienced in it are always interesting.. lots of ants... (Luckily not Ciafu like my neighbors... oy.. I’ve experienced 2 Ciafu –army ants- invasions in their house.. not fun.. basically thousands of biting ants on a mission to go somewhere—unfortunately twice into their house...) The cat rotates between missionary houses, although I was quite pleased it chose mine Friday during the big lightening storm we had! Some other interesting experiences include things such as crazy rain/thunderstorms, silly electricity different insects including one of my favorites... cockroaches.. bluck! One night there was a huge one in my bed- bluck bluck! However—with only those issues... I’m best to say hamna shida no problem.. All in all things at home are good :-)

I don’t know if I mentioned in my last blog that there are two new missionary families here- (and by new meaning they weren’t here in October) it’s been really nice to have them here- a huge support- and it means that I’ve been less then lonely- I am not always good at making sure I have time for just me... like taking time for myself to write blogs! (sorry!) But it really is good- a good support system plus we do so much together like a big family like barbecues (yes- barbecues in February! ) playing games like ticket to ride and catan – (camp folk be happy!) and we also have weekly prayer meetings/ bible studies.

I started teaching a couple weeks ago. The first day went... well pretty rocky... I wanted to cry a little afterwards... but then I slapped myself in the face (not literally!) and told myself to suck it up.. I had been through much worse, and I shouldn’t let one silly day put me in a sour mood. :- ) I’m glad I didn’t because I went back to the classroom with more confidence in myself/ my swahili/ my teaching abilities - and my second and... well since then have been really great! It’s a LOT of work planning lessons making a curriculum myself... but it’s what I came here to do... so I will put as much effort into it as I can.

Also- as some of you may know already... I sometimes put a lot on my plate- which I’ve done here too-- (hence the lack of updates recently - One thing I’m particularly excited about is the weekly women’s group prayer/ bible study every Wednesday at the Kiabakari church ( i briefly mentioned it last post-). It has been so rewarding to be a part of it and it’s only been a few weeks! - It just started 3 or 4 weeks ago- so I’ve been able to be at the first meetings, which is really neat. It’s all in Swahili so it’s a good teaching tool for me, and it’s been such a joy to be with the women- and also to see similarities (like the fact that it’s a village church women’s group... like a small town group of women chatting about what’s going on in town..because let’s be honest if anyone knows—it’s the women’s church group..) Also VAST differences to life as a woman back home... let’s just say many things have opened my eyes to feel pretty fortunate to have grown up as a woman in the United States.

Some other things I’m involved in
• office hours for the students to receive extra help
• teaching 2 courses for workers here at the school (upon request.. how can I say no?) it’ll be good- I start this week!
• weekly prayer with the missionaries here
• and.... well adopting myself into a family now with many little siblings—(it’s good for me, I’ve never had before – I’ve EVEN been holding a baby a bunch.. ) but it takes time to spend time with my new younger siblings—who have fallen in love with the game phase 10. (It’s fun and always interesting with the language barrier).
I’ve also been appointed as the teacher for Michezo (games- so it’s like a gym class). This has been interesting, we played volleyball a few times- just got a net! Also on Friday I am very pleased to inform you I taught Ultimate Frizbee!!!! :- ) I was so surprised how fast they were picking up throwing the frizbee so I explained the game and we had a pretty good game that tired me out after 45 minutes! It was SO fun and many have asked to play again.. (Oh don’t you worry... we will as much as possible...) I think we’re playing football (Soccer) on Friday.. gulp.. the one I as a teacher don’t want to play.. haha I have a feeling it will be pretty humbling- but it’s so good to run around – so I don’t care too much! :- ) They hear me speak Swahili a bunch... that’s also humbling at times ;-)

Today I was asked to sub for someone- meaning I will teach 4 lessons... from about for about 5 hours... it was good, I have 2 classes so we split the time in two- I want to do a quiz Friday so we played Jeopardy half the class period- JEOPARDY! They actually really enjoyed it- and it’s a good review tool- it’s fun to try different activities to see what they will/ will not enjoy.. I’m learning everyday about what is effective.. it’s so interesting to see the differences in teaching/ class management.

I think that’s about it for now- Next week is my first week as Mwalimu wa zamu—(Head teacher) it will be interesting, I’m quite nervous about it—because I still feel new and also feel like I’m not the best teacher in the compound for disciplining.. especially when I’m a) a woman- who many men will not listen to and b) I’m younger than many of the students... Oh well- they’ve only seen me angry and use my teacher voice (it’s amazing how the teacher voice just comes out of you- without you knowing it’s the teacher voice.. until it happens...) a couple times... We also have a bunch of Norwegian volunteers coming next week to see the school and help out- so I think that also means extra English lessons too! Uffdah!

Thanks for all your emails, phone calls, prayers and continued support- I miss you all very much and look forward to seeing many of you in under 5 months! Wow!!

Peace- Love – Faith-


Monday, February 6, 2012

Fleas and Rats and Cats oh My! Getting Settled at Kiabakari -

Hello from Kiabakari everyone!

YES! I am here- and moved into my house.. well still moving/ settling somewhat- but it’s starting to feel a bit like home here... slowly.

So far it has been really great here. I have been welcomed by the other missionary families (that’s right there are 2 new families here- and Geir Tore too : -) Geir from Norway Havstein Binta and their four children from Faroe Islands and Inge Marie and Simon and their soon to be 2 children from Denmark. They have been so hospitable having me for many meals so far- (yup still not losing weight in the village- ) but hoping to get a more normal schedule down too. It’s been so nice having families to hang out with / play games with- We even had a barbecue yesterday here (YES- a Barbecue- IN FEBRUARY! It’s crazy!) Seriously, it’s so good to have them here- I had talked with Geir in October for the need to have weekly gatherings/ a Kiabakari family (partly because I love/ miss mine) AND- well it’s come true – I love getting to know/ spend time with my Kiabakari family!

Other things, Well—there have been some flea issues... still pending (yuck!- they seem to be in the grass so there’s no avoiding it). Some really noisy pigs living right near my house and waking up my second night to something ( I think a rat-) scurrying inside my was closed clothes cupboard.. YUCK! Hence my adoption of the cat living outside Havstein’s and Bintas—I hate to admit it but I’ve rather enjoyed the company and even bought it dagaa ( probably my least favorite thing in the market it Tanzania- dried sardine like fish- bluck- and to let that into my house for this cat must mean I am starting to like it- PLUS I hope it may get the rat... or just scare it from being in my house!)

My first day of teaching will be Wednesday- so far we have had harvest days. Wow- this work surely makes one more aware of all the effort put into all the food we eat... for those of you who like sunflower seeds... well I have some pictures for you but I helped harvest them part two after cutting them all down was to bang on them with big sticks (took us about 5 hours) to get all of the seeds out. Then today I spent harvesting maize for about 8 hours starting at good ol’ 6am! It’s tiring/ hot work..but really good. I feel like my desire for the accompaniment model and working hand in hand really comes to life working in the field with all the students.. But I am glad I won’t be doing it everyday! It will make chapel every morning at 7:30 seem like a sleep in!

Other fun/ random bits-:
• 1- If Ox Lake (Camp!) had a twin.. it’d be here probably- My Faroish friends have ticket to ride Europe and Settlers : - ) WOW (I feel many times I am at camp... especially when I stay up late playing that game.. it’s like staff training all over again.Also campy- graces in swahili going to bed pooped- having to go outside to use the toilet – new today- a Volleyball Net which makes me super thrilled because...
• I am the teacher in charge of Michezo – sports/games and I Stink at football! (soccer)- yet I am pumped to teach ultimate frizbee volleyball and maybe just get some students to go run with me—(which will be of course embarrassing at first!!)
• I need a good cat name:- it’s black and white and is really noisy.. but nice
• It’s hot. That’s all. (It actually encourages me to shower more nice cool water ahhh)
• Today at the big market I went to I had someone profess their love to me.. I’ve never seen them/ met them before in my life... It was touching really.
• Wednesday there’s a women’s prayer/ bible study group started at the Kiabakari church I’m pretty excited for that – also Thursday prayer meeting with the other teachers here- and Wednesday I’m going to join the student’s choir here- I told some of them today in the field- WOW- Karibu sana (very welcome) nice :- )
• Binta has season one of Gilmore Girls – WOW : -D

Okay that’s all hope this is somewhat interesting- I’m pooped- time for bed!