Wednesday, October 17, 2007

teaching school

Greetings! I’m in Zimbabwe now, celebrating my last day as a 31-year-old! :-) Thanks for all who prayed for my travels here. Everything went super-smoothly and easily with my entrance to the country. I’m staying in a really nice B&B and am not personally experiencing any real ill effects from the things that are affecting so many of the people in this country right now.

So far I’ve mostly had to focus on finishing my writing work from Uganda, so I haven’t been able to explore this place much yet and haven’t had enough free space left in my head to ask people too many questions yet. Still, people talk and it’s hard to avoid gathering a few impressions even when you’re trying not to. Those will have to wait for another blog post, though.

Instead, I’m going to try uploading some more Uganda photos. These are from the one day I sort of took off after nine straight days of gathering info (hence, the full head). My good friend Mary’s sister happens to be studying this semester in the Uganda Studies Program. The program is run by
the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. They have a bunch of great semester-long study programs. I was a student in their American Studies Program my last semester of college. They’ve added a bunch of new options since then. USP is hosted by Uganda Christian University, a vibrant-seeming school where students look much more professional than they do at most American colleges and universities.

I met up with Annie, who reminds me lots of her sister and so seemed like an old friend immediately, and chatted for a while before heading out with her and another USP student, Kelly, to their service project at a local primary school. They’d only been there once before to meet the headmaster and get a tour of the school, so they didn’t really know what to expect on this day either.

Well, the headmaster wanted us to use some Child Evangelism Fellowship materials he had and each teach a class. So, after about five minutes or less of glancing through the materials in my hand and choosing to do the lesson on Jesus’ trial, I entered the class of 56 P3 students (probably equivalent to 3rd or 4th grade or so in the US; the education systems are different, and I never completely figured it all out) while Annie and Kelly were introduced to their P1 and P2 classes. After introducing me, the teacher and headmaster left the room, and I was left with the help of the P7 student, Miriam, who was my translator.

So, it was quite an experience, as the lesson in the book was WAY too long to read and have translated the way it was written. I did a lot of summarizing and ad libbing. The first “example” story was about a kid whose sister spilled ink on the carpet but let him take the blame for it. I haven’t seen carpet in two months, so I imagine most of those P3 kids had never seen it. But, we made our way through and had a good time, and the kids asked really good questions at the end. It felt like quite a moment of responsibility to answer “Why did Jesus die on the cross for us?” and “Why did the people want to kill him?” and to make it translatable. As far as I can tell, though, Miriam did a really great job translating, and hopefully the kids learned about Jesus.

After the 45 minute class, Annie, Kelly and I were supposed to take our classes together to the church and do something with them!? We scrounged around in our heads for songs from our youth, especially ones with motions. We got the kids to sing a few of the songs they knew. And still there was lots of time before they were supposed to be dismissed for lunch. So, we dug deeper into our shallow bags of tricks and decided to have Annie be the narrator for the story of Noah’s ark while Kelly and I acted it out. Let’s just say, we’re glad there weren’t any video cameras around. :-)

After we returned to campus in a downpour, I got to sit in on Annie’s African literature class. It was fun and interesting and now I can’t remember the name of the book they were reading. It was Mission to ?? and it was originally written in French. All in all, it was quite a nice day off. It was also neat because the USP students arrived in Uganda about the same time I arrived in Africa, so we’re on about the same schedule in our Africa semester and are absorbing some similar things. It was fun to chat with them.

Here are photos I took of “my class.” To keep the photo session from turning into mass chaos, I asked them to stay in their seats while I took a picture of each section of the class. See if you can find the student who managed to get into all three pictures anyway! :-) (here's a hint: you can see him best in the third photo. there might be more students who did this, but I’ve only found one so far.)

Miriam, translator extraordinaire

Annie and me (notice the water running off the roof behind us!)

Kelly and Annie, Noah's Ark actors extraordinaire

p.s. I think it’s perfectly appropriate to leave birthday greetings in the comments section of a blog. (that’s a shameless hint, in case you didn’t notice! :-) I think I’m relegated to a virtual birthday party this year. :-) )

p.s. #2: Stay tuned for a post entitled “pictures that make me laugh!"


Anonymous said...

Again I am amazed at what you are experiencing. It had to have been a challenge to come up with a lesson that fast and to have the cooperation of the students. I can not really see that many american students being cooperative and respectful in a situation like that. Koodos to those Ugandan students. And, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!I can't believe my oldest is 32!!!!!!!Seems like yesterday when you were born and I had finally become a mother. I have always loved motherhood. Being a Nana is great too and I have been enjoying my visit with Kira, Karson, and Kaden. Hard to believe I only have a couple more days with them before I head back to Kansas. Love, Mom

Jonathan said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! Hi Kami, yours is my favorite blog right now. We are praying for you and I check every day to read the latest. Welcome to "32," I'm here with you for almost two months and then I'll jump up to "33."

Love from our family-

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Kami! I love reading your blog and the photos are great! Hope you can do something special to celebrate your birthday.

Linnea :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Kami, Happy Birthday!!
I hope that you have a lovely day, really glad to have spent time with you in Uganda. Will email too, but have never written on a blog before so wanted to give it a whirl!

Happy Birthday to you!! (I'd sing it if i were there)

God bless, Layton.

Cydil said...

Hey Kami! I've had it on my mind for over a week to leave you a b-day message -- then whadya know, the 18th comes and goes! Trust it was a good day!