Tuesday, January 28, 2014

School Days

I'm taking time out from my homework to update this space. I'm loving my time here in South Africa. Durban sits on the Indian Ocean and it is HOT and HUMID at this time of year. 

Even though I'm still on the African continent it's been easy to forget. My host for the week is a lovely, Scottish woman who lives in a sweet cottage surrounded by lush vegetation. As I do my homework on the porch her two Jack Russell Terriers come sit next to me. 
We drive to school on large highways with proper road signs and several lanes in either direction. Shops and office buildings line the roads and it feels more like Europe than Africa.

I'm here in Durban to qualify as an administrator to use the ACE curriculum so we can open our new school for the kids at Kazembe Orphanage. ACE is a unique, learning system that works with individualized education. It's going to be great for our kids. However, the procedures are very different from traditional classrooms and require some getting used to.

 Above you can see the space that I am occupying this week and half of next. Eight days of putting my nose down and getting work done. It's not that the work is that difficult, but the procedures are very exact and must be followed precisely. I'm a rule follower with a rebellious side, so you can imagine how well I'm getting on right now. 

We are being treated exactly like the students would be in our learning centers so that we can understand how things work from the kids' perspective. Each day we have to set our goals for how much work we'll get done and then take the extra home (if possible) as homework. In the mornings our books are inspected and our goals and homework slips checked for mistakes. Today I got four demerits!!!! I'm fairly certain I'm going to get at least one more tomorrow because I wrote the wrong page number on my homework slip. 
I'm praying God blinds the eyes of the examiners. Not sure if that's the theologically correct thing to do, but I'm desperate.

In the midst of all this modern living, there are a few signs that I'm still in Africa. Can you spot a couple of them below? This photo was taken just outside my classroom when school was out for the day.

I asked a few of the students standing around if they ever get away with saying 'the monkey ate my homework', but they said no. However, the monkeys do frequently steal their lunches. Life in Africa!

Exactly Four Years Ago: Be Prepared
Exactly Three Years Ago: London Fun
Exactly One Year Ago: Introductions

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How Did We Get Here?

The last time I checked it was Christmas Eve. Now it's nearly a month later. What on earth?!?

Am I the only one who feels this way?

So much has gone on since last I shared my life with you. I blame the internet….truly….we only just got our internet repaired—it was off from the end of December until January 21. We were limping by with another internet source, but it was quite expensive and meant we had to be quite judicious in our use of it.

I’d love to catch you up on our lives, but as I look backward in amazement to how fast time has sped by, it hasn’t slowed down at all. So, I’m going to make a bullet list and later go back and write articles for as many of them as possible. Deal?

·         I went through a rough time in December. We lost one of our staff members to HIV/AIDS and I didn’t realize how much I was grieving until I was lost in it. Going through this during a ‘holiday season’ while mostly alone didn’t work well.

  • ·         Santa showed up at Kazembe Orphanage. Twice! And he made children scream and cry—both times!

  • ·         I showed The Nativity to our staff members for their Christmas ‘party’. I love the way that movie focuses on Mary and Joseph and their life in the village. Life here in Kazembe is not that different from Jesus’ time—except people have cell phones.

  • ·         We celebrated personal Christmas, staff Christmas, kids’ Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all within 4 days. Whew!

  • ·         We set off fireworks, on New Year’s Eve from the top of the hill at our new land. Thankfully we had warned the surrounding villagers months in advance so they didn’t think the gods had gone crazy. We may have been a little crazy though. A couple of times we had to ‘duck and cover’ due to faulty equipment and heavy winds. Adrenaline just enhances the fireworks’ beauty though.

  • ·         I worked terribly hard to close the books from last year. I didn’t necessarily work smart, so it probably took longer than it needed to, but the job got done, so it’s all good.

  • ·         Tom and Troy competed against each other in editing a Santa compilation video. Now that the internet is back up we will be posting them both on YouTube for your votes.

  • ·         Peter had a bad case of malaria so I took care of him in our house for 3 days. He now comes up to me a few times a day insisting that he’s hot--hoping to get to lie on our couch and drink Sprite and watch Curcules (guess which movie that is). By the by, he may win the prize for cutest pasta mispronunciation. He calls spaghetti baskabetty.

  • ·         I began using a bullet journal method. For the first time in a really long time, I’m keeping track of my life daily. I’m pretty excited about this.

  • ·         Tom tore apart our pantry, sprayed for bugs (Africa life!) and then added some new shelves. It’s looking so good now and much more useful. Plus, the extra shelf space means the kitchen is less cluttered. Even better is that I was so busy in the office that I couldn’t get in Tom’s way. You all know what I’m talking about, right?

  • ·         Some good missionary friends stopped by for a weekend visit. It’s always wonderful to sit and enjoy conversation over dinner with like-minded people. Life-affirmingly good. (Spell check, it’s a word in my universe!)

  • ·         As I write this I’m on my way to South Africa (via Mansa, then Lusaka) to attend an administrator’s course. Just one more step toward opening our school. Bonus: I may get to see a beach!

  • ·         Brent and Sarah are on their way back right this minute. (Hooray!) We’ll briefly cross paths in Lusaka and then they’ll be heading north to Kazembe while I fly south to Durban, South Africa.

 One of the drawbacks to having limited internet access is not being able to hang out with all of you. Tell me something exciting that has happened for you so far this year. 
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