It's so hard to believe I will be heading back home in two days! This trip has been incredible….so full of different adventures and experiences.
I have been spending most of my time lately in the Okavanga International School (OIS) here at the mission. I have been in a Standard 3 class almost the whole time and have really, really enjoyed it. The kids are all precious and most of them are so respectful and sweet. The school is truly a mixed bunch of kids. Many are from Botswana, but there are also students from South Africa, India, Norway, Nigeria, America, etc. (These are the countries I know about in our little class of 14!) My day starts out observing Standard 4 from 7:30 to 8:30. (Kids younger than that start at 8:30…it’s a transportation issue.) I then go into the Standard 3 class from 8:30 until the school-wide break for students and teachers from 10-10:30. This is snack time/social time for the kids and “tea time” for the teachers. The teachers meet at tables in a central location outside and have tea or coffee while chatting for 30 minutes. Then from 10:30-1:00 is more teaching time. The schedule changes each day, but the subjects taught each day are Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Reading, Agriculture, and French/Setswana. Then on certain days there is P.E., Music, Art, and Swimming. Lunch school-wide is from 1:00-1:30. After that, the kids go to an hour of an elective class. Teachers teach an elective class twice a week from 1:30-2:30. Two of the other days, 1:30-2:30 is used as planning/grading time. Everyone in the school goes home at 1:00 on Fridays. The schedule and pace at the school is pretty laid back and the kids genuinely seem happy to be there. Some subjects are taught outside under the trees, most are taught with hands-on educational tools, there is a lot of time for discussion as a class, and kids are pretty free to chat during work time. Amazingly, I have not seen things get out of hand at all yet. I have also not seen many discipline problems at all. The kids seem to straighten up after a warning. Each class is supposed to have a devotional time with Bible reading and reciting of the Lord’s Prayer each day. I think further discussion and application is welcomed and encouraged.I
have totally enjoyed my time in the school and am so glad these kids have the opportunity to be here. They are experiencing such a wide variety of cultures…just around their work table! I taught a lesson by myself today and it went so well. The only challenge for me is using words that they understand…not that the language is different, just the ways of saying things. For instance, we call the thing at the end of a sentence a period but here it is called a full-stop. So much to re-learn!
As far as my future possibilities at the school, there is a chance that the Standard 3 teacher will not be returning in January. If this were the case, I would love to have that position. However, if that does not work out, there is still the pressing need for someone to take over the preschool. I get the feeling that many people were hoping for that from me. This preschool is like our “Head Start” programs in the States. The kids could be orphans or just be part of the very economically disadvantaged families in the community. The preschool-age kids are so much fun to be around and play with, but as far as being a teacher to them, that is definitely not my comfort level or where my experience is. Also, a lot of work needs to be done in this area of ministry. My plan is to get back home and continue spending time in prayer, diligently pursuing God’s plan for me here. Only He knows what I am truly capable of and where I would best be used. Either way, I will have the opportunity to work with beautiful, precious kids here. That is so exciting to me!
The only new prayer request I have is that the mission has been having terrible problems dealing with immigration lately. They have really been giving the mission and its missionaries a hard time. It seems that they just can’t grasp the concept of people coming here to work for free. They are not convinced that we are not making money off the country. I need to begin praying now for the work visa application process, as it is supposed to be a lengthy and possibly challenging one. What encourages me is knowing that God is in control and His plans will come to pass, no matter the hurdles we need to jump over in the process.
May God continue to richly bless you and meet the needs and desires of your hearts as well. I am beginning to see that He has such wonderful adventures planned for each of us. They all look different, but each is equally fulfilling. What is so beautiful about how He works is that before He shows us His plans for us, He prepares us by putting the desires in our hearts to do exactly what He desires for us to do. He just absolutely amazes me!