There are things I always like about the start of school... The rows of school supplies that fill the stores. The warm days of summer still lingering. The fresh smell of new textbooks and curriculum. Unfortunately, none of these things start the school year in Kenya. School supplies in Nairobi are mostly found at one store. The warm days of summer don't come till October, and believe it or not it's COLD! And our textbooks and curriculum are on a sea-faring container somewhere on the Kenyan coast waiting to get through customs. However, some things always remain the same about the start of school and remind me why I am a teacher.
My 18 students arrived two weeks ago with eager, smiling faces. Some were a little nervous, others excited to be the "top dogs" of the elementary school. My students come from seven countries: Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, U.S., Canada, Ethiopia, and Korea. They speak six different native languages and have lived in more places than I can name. We're off to a great start in my new huge classroom! This is the biggest classroom I've ever taught in. It's amazing. I even got to paint a couple walls red for a homey-feel. We're in the middle of place-value to the billions, editing our own work, and researching Native Americans. So far this year is looking like another great one!
Friday, August 7, 2009
I've been back in Kenya for less than a week, and the constant talk around campus is the WATER CRISIS. The rains in Kenya have been very small. In some parts of the country there has been no rain for several years. The last year that I've been in Kenya, we have suffered from drought on occasion, I've been without water for several days at my house, and I have known people whose crops failed because of drought. My school, however, has not been without water during these times because they have an extra borehole which provides water when the city water is no longer available. This may not be the case for long though. At teacher inservice this week, my superintendent expressed great concern that our school may run out of water because our water sources are almost empty and no rain is in sight. If we run out of water, we have to close the school. Please pray that rain comes to Kenya, that our campus water holes will be filled, and that Rosslyn staff would be creative at ways to conserve water. While we wait for the rains, one of our current campus mottos is: If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, let it drown. Family and friends who I stayed with this summer... now you know why I didn't always flush the toilet. Habit! Thank you for your prayers.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
After two months of traveling across America, I made it back to Kenya safe and sound. It was a crazy summer in the States, but a fun-filled one. I've been horrible about blogging it all the last month, which I'm sorry for. I'll make it all up soon. Now it's back to the normal routine of things, which I must admit I'm grateful for. Traveling non-stop and moving to a new place every two to four days was a bit exhausting for me, but totally worth it. Thank you family and friends for a wonderful summer. You blessed me lots! I don't think you can know all the ways you have been a support to me this summer. Sleeping in my own bed again and seeing people I love in Kenya is refreshing and strange. Refreshing because I can just sit and do nothing and be in my own neck of the woods again. Strange because it feels so normal. Kenya is home. However, Oregon is home. Alaska is home. I have many homes. I guess I'm realizing that home is where the people I love are.