Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"School could be a mini-me of the rest of society"

School has been really pretty good so far. The classroom, yes, was the messiest thing ever. I thought my brothers room was messy, and I guess this is a different kind of messy, but it was still gross. All of the paperwork from past teachers has at least some reminisce of rat pee on it. It took me a whole afternoon to clean just 4 of my desk drawers. Things came together though, even if there is more gecko poop on my desk every morning. Sunday afternoon I had an interesting experience of a baby bat falling on my table and twitching. Blech. I didn’t know what to do with the poor little thing. Luckily some kids from Sunday fellowship were willing to take it outside for me.
The first week in school for me included the following: kids throwing rocks, calling each other ugly, a child disappearing for 1 ½ hours, karate chopping, and too much calling out to even remember. However, such is the first week of a 1st grade classroom. It’s hard to expect much from a group of kids ranging in ages 4-7 who had three different teachers in the course of last year. Things will get better. Some fun facts about my classroom is where the kids come from. From what I can tell so far, I have 2 Koreans who do not speak much English, 1 newly adopted Ugandan who does not speak much English, 1 Pilipino, 1 Japanese, 2 from Holland, 1 from the UK, 1 from Kenya, some “Americans”, and some other Ugandans.
Some of you may have caught wind that I was very ill this past week. At around 1am Wednesday morning I woke up violently and spent the rest of the morning in the bathroom or in bed with a bowl. I am almost completely better now. Thank you all so much for your prayers! I returned to school on Thursday and taught while sitting, but the kids did a great job that morning. Friday morning chapel was a wonderful experience. I got goose bumps as the whole elementary school (play group through 6th grade) slowly sang “Lord I lift your name on high”. It’s pretty cool to be at a school where you can freely worship the Lord and encourage it! I am learning how much of a ministry it is however. Not everyone in the school is a Christian. There are some Muslims, a Jain, Buddhists, atheists, etc. Some people simply send their kids to HIS because other people tell them it is a good school. It’s not just a teaching job; it’s a way to reach out to people. On Friday night I helped out with the first youth group of the year for HIS. We had a bunch of kids come out who really did seem like they wanted to know more about Christ. Please pray that this ministry is successful. Some of the kids who came are known to really be struggling and made some very bad choices. I have been surprised how easy it is for kids to find some real trouble here.
I’ve been able to put some pictures up on my facebook page-I have found it the easiest way to share pictures. Here is a link to the photo album:

Please keep those prayers coming, they are being felt! I love hearing from you all!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Buvuma Island

Yesterday, I returned to Buvuma Island. For those of you who have heard the story of me getting stuck in the middle of Lake Victoria (or experienced it with me) that is the place where we were coming from. I was so worried about going and the possibility of us breaking down again, though, somehow I knew that nothing could be as bad as what happened last time. If you haven't heard the story, the incredibly short version is this: We went to Buvuma Island to teach some kids at an orphanage and visit a health clinic. On the way out we had trouble starting the engine, but we got there. Leaving, it never started, but we were pushed out and floating for an hour or so with storms coming. Eventually got to a spot of mainland. Found a random person to take us. People licking necks and doing african calls. Stuck in the mud and dropped off on the side of the road when the taxis had stopped running. I'm sure your imaginations can fill in some of the blanks!
There were some missionaries were headed out to the Island and this would be my roommate and my only chance to go out for a long time. So, we went. It was really great to be back on the island and see some of the same people and wander through Chicongo with kids using us Muzungus as pets. We left and got back to land safely, but we were having an issue with the breaks in the car. So we went to a mechanic that Pastor David knew. All of the girls sat in the back of the car where as many as 20 'mechanics' gathered around trying to figure out the problem after removing the front seats. 2 1/2 hours later we left the mechanic with a new pump of some sort that we inevitably paid to much for being Muzungus. During that time some of us took naps or twiddled our thumbs, but we did not go wandering because we kept thinking we would be done any minute. However, it was MUCH better than last time and I am glad to have gotten the chance to return after all. 
Thanks for the prayers. I hope to get pictures up here soon. I have moved into the apartment, and things are slowly coming together, with or without water and electricity ;)

Here are some of the pictures from the Island.

Pastor David starting up the engine! 
A chicken hanging out in a window of a house :)
And my new roomie and I with some of the kids who nabbed us as pet muzungus!