Week 23: Schools and Valentines

ByGrace

This week was my first full week back at schools.

I spent Monday at ByGrace Orphanage and School setting up a computer lab with the hand-me-down computers from AEE.  When I was working on the last one, the power went out which meant no more computer time.

Getting to ByGrace is an interesting journey.  Rather than going towards Nairobi, I take a matatu away from Nairobi for about 20 minutes.  Then I walk through the small town of Ngong into the vast Maasai land for about 30 minutes.  I usually get some really interesting looks as I walk along the path in Maasai land.

The reality is that 99% of white people in the Nairobi area own a car and so to see white person walking 2-3 miles is quite the site for everyone.  Glad to entertain.

St. Hannah’s Girls

I go to St. Hannah’s Girls school twice a week:

First, I teach an hour and a half class session (Kenyans call it counseling).  This was my first time to teach solo in Kenya.  Sometimes Kenyans have a hard time understanding me.  Therefore, I start out every class with something like, “if you can understand me put your hand on your head.”  Usually about 75% of the class follows my directions while the other quarter looks around at everyone like they’re crazy.

This first class I decided to talk about lying.  I had good participation and threw in as many stupid Robert moments as possible.  When I finish a statement I say, “Salwa Salwa?” which means “OK OK?” in Swahili to see if they understand me.  If I’m really into it I throw some Karate chops into it.  I was told the next week that all the students keep saying “Salwa Salwa” like me which I think is good…

My favorite part of the class is afterwards when individuals come up and talk with me and I get to know the kiddos.  The first conversations always involve questions about the US.  However, the girls were also really interested in what music I listened too.

Second, I was invited to their worship service which they have weekly.  My first visit to their worship service was interesting (I expected nothing less).  I really wanted to be an observer and not the “main attraction” during my first visit.  I want to be a part of their service, how it is now, and not the person who comes in with new ideas and changes everything.  But, that’s not the way it works in Kenya.

The service began with the 125 girls singing and dancing.  They had a really cool Swahili song they did with the electric slide worked in.  The singing was amazing.

Then they asked me to say hello and a few words.  So, I preached a short sermonette.  Then we moved on to singing again and the leader walked over and asked “do you have any songs you want to sing?”  I said, “well, my guitar is in the car if you want me to get it I can.”  So, I went and got my guitar.  We sang 2 songs and after each the girls cheered like I was Justin Timberlake.  I said in my head “they’re cheering for you God, not me.”

St. Hannah’s Boys

I go to St. Hannah’s Boys school twice a week as well.

First, I teach an hour and a half class here too.  The boys seem to be a little more interactive so far, but we’ve only met twice.  I spend a good amount of time sticking around afterwards and answering questions.

The first week were all questions about the US.  “I heard that every student has a laptop and you don’t ever use paper.”  “Would you say that life is easier in the US?”  “Does it look richer?”  “Is it really like (insert movie/tv show/song)?”

I have found that many Kenyans view the US as a place with no problems where everybody has lots of money.  This is frustrating to deal with, but is very true when you define problems as not having any money, needing food, and clean water.  Also, when you define having money as the US minimum wage.

Second, I have been invited to come and play basketball with the kiddos during their recreation time.  So, I will start that next week.  The Principal wants me to be the coach…but we’ll see.

St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas is a primary school that is very close to AEE.  I teach the 7th and 8th graders for 35 minutes each week.  This is the only mixed gender school I lead counseling classes at which makes it interesting.

They are a little more shy.  Our first class was on how much God loves them and how special they are.  This is the only school out of my 3 that I can teach Biblically based lesson.  The St. Hannah schools have Muslim students and I am glad to see that the schools are respectful of the Muslim students.  However, I never realized how hard it is to teach morals and other bo-jazz without making any Biblical references.  I guess I am too used to teaching Sunday School.

So, that’s my school program currently.  I really love solo teaching, but am excited about the Foxfires coming and getting more schools for them to work in.

Weekend

This past weekend was amazing! (People wise and food wise)  Friday night we had a Presbyterian Missionaries of East Africa get together.  The food was delicious and the company was even better.

I am learning that my one year of service is very small when compared with others.  Most of the people (besides YAVs) had at least over 5 years of service.  I talked with a few who were 22 years and up.  Yikes!

Valentine’s Day was very nice as well.  Our coordinator had us over for a Valentine’s dinner.  The food was once again amazing and the company was as well.  I ate enough Mac & Cheese to make my tummy hurt.  (I’d/I’ll do it again because I love Mac & Cheese)

Sunday I made it almost to dinner without realizing I was hungry because I had such large meals Friday and Saturday night.  Bwana Asifiwe!  (Praise the Lord!)

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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