Thanks to everyone who has asked how shule is going. It is great and I am so enjoying teaching again and being a part of the kid's lives and getting to know the families better. The kids are over here constantly (if they can get past Jason who is not as much of a fan of loud watoto playing outside:). They are always playing ball, on the swings, or asking to "help" us (need street food they'll go get it, need something from the duka they are all over it). The parents have also been impressed that the kids are indeed learning and can now tell them the English words for some things around their homes. It is exciting for sure and I am eager to see what God does next. No shule this week since we will be in Dar for work stuff (for the vocational training center) and a Dr. appointment for Miss Evy. I wanted to record some funny and sweet stories of the watoto and give a bit of an update:
*We have been working a lot on greetings and saying please and thank you and most of them have it down. They greet me whenever we walk out of our gate or drive our car anywhere and although there are some "good morning" at 6pm for the most part they are doing great.
*Something that just makes me laugh hysterically is that not a day can go by without one of the students loudly proclaiming "underwear" and busting out a huge grin. In one of our books the "u" is for underwear and after seeing the picture and translating the word to chupi they all fell out laughing. It is for sure their favorite English word and thanks to me there are almost 20 kids who cannot speak much English but should you ask them to tell what underwear means they got it covered!!
*An exciting development is that many of the younger kids that could barely hold a pencil can now write some letters. They are not fabulous at writing and still need help from me or Paula most of the time but they are trying which is HUGE! When we first started writing in our books the children who could not just refused to even try and had an older child write for them. At schools here many times repeating and performing is emphasized over figuring it out for yourself or really trying and thus learning yourself. I broke that up quickly by making a rule that you only got a sticker if you tried yourself. So many of them were afraid to try since they knew the other kids would laugh or maybe they thought I would be upset they could not do it "right." It is such a blessing to see them trying, writing letters, and proud of themselves for their work. So rewarding!
* This weekend I brought over some pizza for the watoto to try. I wanted them to be able to see and taste pizza since they learned "P" is for pizza from one of the books we use to practice letters. The kids all tried it (which is more than I can say for some of the adults who were afraid to even taste it which in fairness is sometimes how I feel about their fish heads or fried octopus). Most of the kids loved it although all agreed that squid is still way better:)
*Last week when I was collecting homework one little boy did not have his (a first since every week they ALL bring their work back completed) and when I asked him why he said "Teacher, kazi ya nymbani yangu imepeperuka" (my homework, it flew away). I started cracking up but also realized it probably was the truth since his house has no screens on the windows and it could be completely possible and in fact plausible that it did indeed fly away. After discussing the merits of putting a rock on all homework so this would not happen again I gave him another copy:)
*We are learning about the 5 senses in Kiswahili and English and one worksheet I copied asked the kids to tell which senses they would use for example for a flower (the answer being we can see it, smell it, touch it but not taste it or hear it) and EVERY single student circled that for a bunny we can see it, touch it, AND taste it. Hilarious but true: in Africa animals are for eating!!
*While I am completely tone deaf the kids seem not to care at all and LOVE singing and learning new songs. Any suggestions for songs that are easy to learn and sing? Singing is a highlight everyday of shule and I have roped my team mate Paula into teaching some songs she knows too. Here is us belting out the 'Rainbow song'
Some awesome and generous peeps out there have asked how they can support the shule and I came up with a few things that while not necessary would be amazing to be able to use:
-a set of crayons for each child would be awesome for them to do homework at their houses (currently they are sharing one set-all 18 kids)
-flashcards for teaching ESL kids (animals, weather, colors, shapes, emotions, actions, etc)
-construction paper-various colors
-markers, paints, and any things we can use for art
-laminating pouches to make class sets of things we use all the time-elementary workbooks with activities to learn English (I have a few of Anni's I currently use and make copies when needed but it would be great to have a few for older kids too)
-a clock that you can move the hands around and use to teach time (I used to have a small one when I taught preschool and they are great and the kids can use it)
-pocket calendar for teaching that we could use for weather, dates, days of the week, etc.-donations toward a field trip to the local zoo (If I could raise 50 US dollars that would cover all the kids and some parents' admission, transportation, and snacks while there) I think this would be a great incentive and opportunity for the kids!
-general donations for a "shule fund" for xerox copies (HW), pencils, notebooks when needed (as well as some of the above can be purchased here)
Well, I guess that is a lot of suggestions but just get me thinking and I can think up lots we could do :) Any and all help would be so appreciated!! Thanks everyone for your interest in shule and please continue to pray God helps the kids learn, me teach, and blesses the families! Asante!
here is a little video Jason shot with snipets of shule we made for J's parents. I had to post it so you can check out my daughter smack her best friend during the singing(little bugger) & the litle boy I pick up is the one whose homework flew away :)Karibu shule yetu(welcome to our school)(and no comments on my singing:)