In a long overdue update shule is back in session! I took a much needed break for the second two months I was teaching English at Pamoja because I was overwhelmed. Ok, to be honest I was a mess. Going from thing to thing all requiring much of myself I had very little left over for my family, for J, for my girls. And the leftovers is not how it is supposed to be. But for me I allowed it to happen and needed to take back some of my time in order to love and serve my family. No one will ever set boundaries for you, you have to do it yourself and ask Him for wisdom. Learning to thrive is about knowing you who are, how God made you, and what you need. I am learning this and in the process trying to be more fully me and to love that person He created. I might want to do everything well but I cannot and when I try I fail everyone close to me. So although the kids begged I said no shule for 2 months. And it turned out to be great. Yep, turns out I cannot do everything (or even half of everything). Can I get that tattooed somewhere? like my forehead maybe?
But no shule meant I was able to have more time to just be with neighbors and the watoto; impromptu games, we learned baseball one day (watching women in a black veil try to see the ball and hit it was pretty funny), kickball another, and lots of swinging and singing. I also got to re-evaluate this idea that God birthed over a year ago. I really cannot believe that this one small dream has grown and now there are so many parents asking if their children can come. I reflected on how much I am blessed by seeing the kids learn and smile and have fun. And the best part: I cannot take credit! He gave me the vision and has provided everything we need to continue (many times through some of you- THANK YOU!). We even have a name: Shule ya Imani which means School of Faith in Kiswahili and the students picked it because we started right after Evy Imani was born and because we trust God to provide everything we need. What started as a few kids on a mat has now grown to 29 children between the ages 2 and 12. And now we are on 2 very crowded and well worn mats! I recently had a parent’s meeting to answer questions, to explain the rules, what we do every shule time, how they can help their children at home, etc. Almost everyone was late which made my speech about helping their children to be on time sorta ridiculous but all in all it was great. I have now extended the time by 30 minutes and split the kids into two groups : the Wadogo (little ones) and the Wakubwa (bigger ones) and I explained how this will help me better teach to their children’s needs and give individual attention. Everyone was also eager kabisa to hear about our upcoming field trip to the local zoo (the kids all have to pass an exam and know their animals in English before we go- they are HIGHLY motivated let me tell you). They asked if I could teach everyday or longer the days I do. And although I had to say no right now I think they understood. I handed out all the homework each child has handed in so far stapled together with a little note from me that said “Mpendwa wa Mungu” (Loved one of God) and their name written in bright marker. They were so proud of their work and eager to show it off. We prayed together and I asked God to bless us, protect the children and families, and help us continue to learn and grow together. And, of course, as any function at the Wazungu house does we ended with juice and banana muffins. It was a special time. The progress is slow and although we are not able to do everything I wish we could I am so excited to see them remember what we learn, retell the stories from His Word to me, and really take ownership in helping during shule time. The are so happy to be a part of shule; to be included, to have fun, to learn, and to laugh. I pray that they know how special they each are and how deep and how wide is the Father’s love for them. I am so blessed to get to see these children learn, discover, and grow. Shule ya Imani is in session….Karibu!
here is a few pics snapped during the Wadogo class:
listening (some of the time:)
helping the teacher by ringing the “quiet now” bell….
and passing out pencils….
and our workbooks