As the saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun.” The last months have simply flown by! There has been so much to learn and absorb. My time in East Africa so far has often been overwhelming, confusing, and challenging. But, this time has also been affirming, encouraging, and joy-filled.
As I sit here writing this, the rains have come. The last three nights we have received roof-pounding rain. Our water tanks have been filled up and we now no longer feel the need to ration our water usage as much.
For the first time, I am cold! I never thought that I would utter that phrase again but, I am cold!
These pounding rains are needed as it has been incredibly dry. The problem comes with erosion. Many trees have been cut down to make charcoal and this has lead to soil erosion. The school farm has been working hard to prevent this erosion. They have been transplanting cacti (!) to create hedgerows between the crops.
Twice a week, I have the privilege of organizing and teaching an ESL class here at the school. Jane, Orro, Elijah, Gerald, Titus, George, Pamela and Susan are all employees here; they work in the kitchen, on the farm, in maintenance, and in security. Teaching these lessons is always a highlight of my week as everyone is so excited to learn!
Since none of them were able to attend secondary school and most didn't finish primary school, they understand the importance of education. Each of them works so that their children can attend school. Together we have studied Dr. Seuss, looked at sentence structure, how to form questions, and many other topics. I am so grateful for the blessing they are in my life!
I love teaching! Over the last couple of months, I have quickly realized that the school systems in Kenya and Canada are incredibly different and that there are good and bad aspects to both systems. To develop my East African teaching skills and to share my western teaching skills, I have been partnered with two upper-elementary teachers. I have learned a lot from Erick and Wilfrieda and have so enjoyed learning from them! I have been teaching Grade 7 English. We are doing a novel study together and the students are loving the change of pace from their normal school routine. Incorporating different subjects, such as art and creative writing, into English class is a bit of a novelty and these students have taken to it.
Judi loves to hike and has taken me on a few excursions up the hill behind our house. I am still positive that I’d get lost on my own, but with her guidance, we are able to get in a lung- and leg-burning experience! The town of Mbita sits on a point of land jutting out into Lake Victoria. The city centre is focused around the causeway- a bridge built to connect Mbita Point to the island of Rusinga- one of the many islands of Lake Victoria. From the top of the hill, we are treated with the most panoramic vista ever!