Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Been home (in Canada) a week already.... can't catch up with time! I've enjoyed some great family time already, mostly with my sister and very cute nephews. Now I'm already enroute (currently waiting in the airport in MN)out west! I'm pretty excited about it for a few reasons. 1) get to spend time with Chris & Laura 2)i've never been west (that i remember) and am looking forward to taking in the sights.

sorry this is so short but running out of internet time. will have to write more once i arrive in Seattle.

Friday, December 2, 2011

so this is my second attempt to send out this blog. i was sitting in a cafe typing away totally unaware that my time had run out. :( but that seems to be the theme of my life the last week or so as there hasn't seemed to be any time to sit and figure out where i'm at!
i got my report cards done 3 hours before deadline and only had one correction to make. hurray! i think i'm getting better at it. :)
the last few days of classes were a blur of getting the classroom cleaned and keeping the children occupied. our end of term show rehearsels went reasonalbly well but i was still pretty nervous about the actual show.
wednesday came and with it the parents and visitors and a whole bunch of stress! i made it through the parent/teacher interviews with most of my sanity intact. got the kids sorted out with their costumes and proceeded to the end of term show. it was quite the "interesting" show with the kids messing up 2 of their songs and myself making up all my lines as i went along; then completely blanking on one of them! by the end i was just ready to "go home!". unfortunately i still needed to pickup costumes, wash the 1/2 container of baby powder out of my hair and finish packing before stumbling to bed sometime before midnight.
thursday dawned bright and early with 3 grade 1 entrance interviews to do before 10am! thankfully i was able to divide the work with mark and pam ronald and we got through them rather efficiently. then last minute house cleaning (especially getting my dishes done)and up to the airstrip for my 11am flight OUT OF THERE! :D
the first 15 mins of the flight was kinda fun as i had 3 of my students baraging me with "miss sheach look at that!" and "what is that?" etc. then suddenly the excitement changed when their stomachs started turning over. thankfully only one ended up getting sick and i didn't really have to deal with it too much. the rest of the flight was rather miserable. when we landed it was around 3pm and we were starving (not having eaten since breakfast) so lina and i grabbed a coke and some chips at the airport. we spent some time window-shopping at the marvelous Mandahill Centre (you'd think you were in north america is crazy!) and grabbed a latte before heading out for supper. the supper was an amazing, mouth-watering steak meal which was to die for after being in the bush for awhile! unfortunately we didn't get much sleep between the heat, pouring rain and the dogs (the usual problems here in lusaka).
this morning after breakfast we hired a taxi to take us "around town" as we had some errands to run before Lina caught her flight. we got most of the errands we needed done and finished my christmas shopping as well. i've taken the rest of the day to relax and try and get caught up on some sleep!
tomorrow at 7am i leave for the airport for my 9am flight to London. back in canada on monday... i think.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Once again avoiding work..

I am 'taking a break' from report cards at the moment (AKA avoiding); I've actually got all the marks in, which is the easy part. (Well, once I'd sorted out the new report card format! - there was a LOT of baking going on to relieve the stress caused by that on Friday)Now comes the part i totally detest... writing the comments! i know it's important for the parents, it's one of the only ways of communicating with some of them. it's just so hard to write all that needs to be said in the space provided. sometimes the hard part is trying to think of how many different ways you can politely say 'your child is lazy and needs to get their butt in gear'. my goal is to get all my report cards done by thursday night so that i'll have friday to pack (lina and i need to ship our suitcases down to lusaka earlier then we fly) and the weekend to relax/ work on my lines for the play.

The play is coming along quite well, i'm mostly frustrated with myself and my sieve-like brain that can't seems to remember my lines as soon as i stand up on stage. i know lina's rather stressed over the music end of things (and her lines) but i think the kids seem to be doing quite well.. but then i'm not musical so ... :)

Tomorrow the 3 TA's fly out around breakfast time, so it's back to just me in the classroom. I've been slowly working in more Christmas crafts and less work so it shouldn't be too bad. the kids are starting to get antsy though and it's getting harder to keep them in control. i TOTALLY understand how they feel, i don't really want to be in the classroom any more either. unfortunately we don't get much of a choice there. i really only have Tues-Thurs full class days, a few periods on Friday and Saturday and then Monday and Tuesday are only 1/2 days as we have play rehearsels. yahoo! Lina and i have already been planning out what we're going to do/buy as soon as we get to Lusaka. high on our list is going to the new cafe or any restaurant really!

please pray for
1) the parents as they drive up on Wednesday and home on Thurs. we've been getting a lot of rain so there will be bad patches on the road, especially if a storm hits that day.
2) the end of term program will go well, but more importantly will touch the lives of those who hear it as they hear the true meaning of Christmas
3) of course for safe traveling for myself and Lina as well. we fly out of Sakeji next Thurs Lina leaves Lusaka on Fri and I leave on Sun (arriving home Mon).

ok, now back to work i go!

Monday, November 14, 2011

counting down again!

What a crazy day it's been, and it's only 11am! The end of term insanity is officially beginning.
This morning at breakfast i was asked to interview a potential grade 2 student. i had no problem with doing this except that i have never done the grade 2 interviews and am unfamiliar with the process/tests etc. on top of that, i had to re-vamp my morning plans (which i had actually done in advance for once!) so that i could get one of the TA's to supervise my class. i spent 15 mins running around looking for the people i needed and finally gave up and wrote them a note on the blackboard, which thankfully worked out ok.
the interview went fairly well (considering i didn't know what i was doing and the girl was pretty nervous) but it took much longer then i expected so i didn't get through all i had wanted to do. after the interview i went back to my classroom and proceeded with the usual classroom mayhem. (actually they were fairly well behaved this morn). 45 mins later (tea time) i was in desparate need of a cup of tea but was only able to get down about 1/2 a mug (it was really hot!)before i had to run out to get the truck to pick up Bethany from Ikelenge. Today was the first day of grade 9 national exams. as we only have 1 grade 9 student she had to go to the local highschool to sit her tests. Bethany Fuller went with her to keep her company in between tests (hour long break) because she's she and it's her first day. please pray for her this week as she not only has the pressure of the exams, but apparently the students from the local highschool are pressuring her for answers as they figure she should know them b/c she's from Sakeji.
it's now 6:30 pm and I'm just getting around to finishing my blog. i was supposed to pick Kahalu up but due to the problems she was having our headmaster went in to talk with the headmaster from Ikelenge school and let him know what was going on. apparently it will be 'sorted' tomorrow. we're not holding our breath about it tho'. the rest of my day flew by rather quickly. my class was excited to find out that the Brownies they had written to in England had replied. So we spent the afternoon classes working on writing back to our penpals. the kids were excited about this for several reasons: 1) usually only the senior classes get penpals and 2) it meant they didn't have to do creative writing. :) (not their favourite subject).
i keep forgetting that i am in charge of 'senior girls games' on mondays. so after school i was racking my brain trying to think of something to do with them. however, phil towse asked if we could do 'swiches' (meaning i got the senior boys instead). although i wouldn't normally be pleased with this it actually made my descision easier. they've been drilling on rugby all term so they were over then moon when i suggested we play football (aka soccer).

now i'm back in the class trying to get some marking done and my report card grades all tallied up (so i'll be ahead of the game for once). and plan for tomorrow as i have another interview. i think i've figured out what my 'sub' can do with the class. hopefully she'll be able to reign them in tho'! must go if i'm gonna get all that done as i also have to drill my lines for end of term program tonight. sigh. i just keep telling myself that we're almost done! 13 class days left!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Independence Day Fun

I've been trying to get a blog up all week, in fact I've written 4 and whenever I go to post them the internet or website aren't working! i'm determined to make this one work!

Today marks 46 years of "independence" in Zambia. It's a bit of a laugh really as Zambia is actually very dependent on outside aid etc. but I won't get into that now. For the kids, Independence Day means no classes but a whole day of water races and pool games. For the staff it means a whole day of hyper/excited children and a sunburn to keep us awake all night. It is a great day though, and everyone had fun! Of course, my house, Fisher, won the competition and so is still ahead in the running for the trophey at the end of the term. :) still undefeated. :D all the kids did an amazing job and i was very proud of my little 'no sealers' who did awesome despite the fact that they were swimming in water over their heads and only 2 of them can actually make a width of the pool. We have a new King of the plank champion, which is always exciting. unfortunately the staff didn't get to play as we ran out of time. :( the only injury today was to a staff member who dislocated her shoulder in a silly swimming game. oops! the day ended with a MASSIVE bonfire (over 2 stories high) and some great fire works. what a day! unfortunately we've got regular classes tomorrow and the grade 7's start their national exams.... not so great timing for them. not sure if they'll be awake! (pics to come once they're downloaded and if i remember)

today is also the 1/2 way point in our term, craziness! our year will be finished in a little over 5 weeks. i'm not really prepared for all the end of term craziness but i'm excited about going home for hte holidays!!

this week we'll be handing out the scripts for the end of term show. this means that i'll also have to get memorizing as i've got a part in it this year. thankfully no singing for me! :)

last week we had birthday party. i won't go into lots of details but the theme was "circus". it wasn't too bad. i dressed up as a little girl who was going to the circus.

i also held the 'Friday Night' ('late night' fun for 7-9th gr) at my house last week. actually i just had the girls and we did a 'spa/dress-up' night. it was a lot of fun. the girls enjoyed putting on face masks and giving each other pedicures. they also got manicures and enjoyed dressing up in my make up and earings and such and taking tons of pictures. it's so nice to have these 'fun' times with the girls. :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

thanksgiving post (a little late as usual)

Right now back in Canada many people will be celebrating Thanksgiving; eating turkey and such, thinking of the things they are thankful for. Here in Zambia we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving so I had kind of forgotten about it until I noticed some comments on Facebook. So I’ll do a quick list of what I’m thankful for this year:
1) The Lord has allowed me to continue serving Him here at Sakeji
2) All 19 of my students (even the ones that drive me insane occasionally!)
3) The rain! It’s been cooling things down and of course helping my little garden grow!
4) The 22 students who were baptized last term
5) That I’ll be able to go home for a visit at Christmas and see my family!
There are many, many more things to be thankful for as God has given me SO much and continues to astound me with the ways in which He provides for my every need and then some!
Quick update: we’ve just finished our first ½ term break so we’re already 1/3 of the way through the term! Wow! We had some gorgeous sunny days for our break, which of course means all the staff are sporting some nice sunburns (myself included). The first day Lina and I completed our morning duties (try-outs for the end of term program and some supervision duties) and then borrowed a vehicle and took off for Kalene. Lina was on a mission to get some yitenge (cloth) from their market, unfortunately we got there at a bad time and a lot of the shops were closed. Those that were open had a very poor selection. Our next stop was The Rapids, where I spent some time on my birthday. We arrived, changed and were looking for a place to jump in for a swim when this guy came up and told us we had to pay to be there… um.. what??! It’s a public river for goodness sake! Finally the only way to get rid of him was to tell him we were leaving. I was pretty miffed, no swim. :( We found out when we got back that apparently they (whoever ‘they’ are) are now charging a small fee. So stupid! It’s not like there’s upkeep or anything, it’s a RIVER! So we packed up our stuff and headed off, having a bit of a picnic supper on the way home. It was a rather disappointing afternoon and really not worth the cost of renting the vehicle. Oh well, c’est la vie! On Saturday I had swimming supervision (where I earned my burn). After lunch I headed up to my house and spent the afternoon relaxing and sewing. There were 2 staff vs students tag rugby games but I opted out. I had tried to learn the game but it was so ridiculous (not much resembling rugby at all!) and I wasn’t very good at it so it was all quite frustrating. As it was tag rugby I had no way of venting my frustration! so I decided it might be best not to play rather than lose my cool in front of the students! Apparently I wasn’t really needed anyhow as the staff still managed to beat the students. :) overall is seems everyone had a great long weekend and now we’re all buckling down for the next section of the term. Lina, Jill and I need to decided soon who will be getting the main parts and solos etc for our Christmas play and get that ball rolling. Next Wednesday is birthday party and we have a few special guests coming over the next few weeks…. So it should get rather busy soon!
51 days left!

Monday, October 10, 2011

written on Sept 30th but forgot to post till now....

It’s been awhile since I last wrote, not just because I had nothing to say but I haven’t been on the internet all that much. As I write (type) we’re in the middle of our first really big rain of the season. It’s been working up to it for few days/weeks now with little showers here and there, mostly in the night. I think this one will be a ‘gully-washer’ as my friend says. It never ceases to amaze me when we get hail here, but hail there is. I’m just glad that there’s not a long of lightening yet. I prefer the lightning storms at night when I don’t have to be out and about! I’m a little worried about my classroom right now because I think I left the windows open, but I’m not worried enough to go out in this downpour. I’ll check the damage later.
Other happenings since my last blog: sickness, sickness everywhere! It seems the students all came back with some form of cough/cold and decided to share with their teachers; this is not too uncommon. Unfortunately someone also brought in a nasty form of flu which has gone through the ranks as well! Thankfully it’s short-lived, about 48 hrs, but not a fun time for sure! So since the beginning of term I’ve had laringitus (sp?)/cold (which makes teaching interesting) and just when that was clearing up and I was feeling somewhat “normal” again I came down with the flu. The worst part about being sick out here is that there are no substitute teachers to call in! so we try and accommodate each other as much as possible, letting the sick person get as much rest as they can. Thankfully for me my first (and worst) day was on a Wednesday. I suffered through the morning, put on a video, then had my afternoon classes (handwriting and swimming) covered by the current short-termers. Yesterday I managed to slug my way through the day, taking as many naps as I could and going to bed early. Today I’m feeling much better and was actually able to eat meals. Hurray! Of course, now it’s my afternoon off and I’m busy catching up on all the planning and marking that has been piling up for the last 3 days! :S
Well, just as quickly as it started the rain has stopped, the birds are out catching the worms drowning in the puddles and I must head up to my classroom to assess damages…

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

back in the groove

We have been back at school for a whole week now and I have to say I'm quite impressed with the way my students are adapting to our new schedule of having both grades together all the time. Apart from the classroom being a little louder then I like (which is to be expected), things are working out rather smoothly. It's funny how quickly we fall back into the routines.

My students are currently studying 'animals' in science class and have been keeping my on my toes with some great questions. i however have not been able to answer them all and was wondering if anyone can answer this one:

"How come an oppossum (and bat) can hang upside down and all the blood doesn't rush to it's head like it would in a human?"

The obvious answer is that they're created differently but that wasn't a satisfying answer for them. :S

We also had an interesting discussion today about angels and demons. It's crazy what their little minds can come up with and yet they can't get their minds around (what we might consider) "simple" math or language promblems. Kids sure keep life interesting! :)

Nothing too exciting planned for this week so I might not blog for awhile...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

off to a good start!

Our first day went well... for grade 1 & 2 it's really just a reminder of the rules, checking out the "new" things in the classroom (which includes a computer this term... we'll see how long that lasts) and getting to know each other again. It's only 1/2 a day of classes so we spent a lovely afternoon swimming, splashing and generally having fun at the pool and river. the water was freezing but the sun was so warm it felt rather refreshing.:) we ended the day by finishing up the movie "Milo and Otis" which the kids started on Tuesday night. Overall a good day.

Today however is when the real work begins. Right into class work and such this morning. We'll see how it goes having both grades in the classroom at all times...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

laughter breaks the silence

The peaceful, relaxing silence has now been replaced with children's laughter and shouts and a sense of excitement. TOday the students are coming back to school and tomorrow begins our third and final term of the 2011 school year.

the past few days i've been busy desparately trying to get my classroom in order (i left it in a bit of a mess) and figuring out my schedule and what i'm teaching etc. of course i could have done that anytime over the past 6 weeks, but i am such a procrastinator that i always leave it till the last minute... praise the Lord it's done now. i'm not fully organized curriculm wise, but that will sort itself out over the next few days. it will be an interesting term in that i'll be teaching all the core classes to both grades. this means that i'll have both grades in the classroom when teaching math, language/phonics, and reading. usually we try to split them up at this time and have one teacher teaching math to one grade while the other grade is having language with another teacher. unfortunately we don't have the staff for that this term. I will be getting some help though as we have 3 more young ladies coming to help out for 6 wks. i've requested one as a TA. I'm not sure who it'll be yet as they don't arrive until Sept 15th. I guess i'll just have to wing-it until then. Another short termer who has come to help out wherever he's needed is Michael Geesey. He's a Sakeji alumni so it's nice that he could make it back for a visit.

Some prayer requests for this term:
1) That my students will work hard and finish the year strong
2) For those who are struggling to get the extra assistance they need
3) That we'll have a great term; that God will give the teacher's the patience and engergy they need and that Christ's love will shine abundantly in our school.

Friday, August 26, 2011

so busy relaxing i forgot to blog!

I have really been enjoying my holiday time this term break. It has been very laid back and relaxing. I have had the time (and energy) to get a lot of little things done that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile but haven’t been able to find the time. Lots of sewing and reading has been caught up on as well as gardening and other ‘pass times’.

The one, I’ll call it “black spot” on my holidays so far was the week I spent in Lunda lessons. Although the lessons were somewhat productive and I actually managed to learn some Lunda grammar and a few phrases; who wants to be taking classes on their holiday! Add to that that I’m “linguistically challenged” (languages do NOT come easily to me) and I was pretty miserable that week; that and the bumping around in the car for an hour each day on the way to and from Kalene. However, I keep telling myself that it was a good grounding and now I just need to keep practicing so that eventually, one Sunday I’ll go into church here and actually understand the sermon without a translator or I’ll be able to talk to my gardener in Lunda so he knows that weeding does not involve ripping out everything in the garden, just the weeds!

Speaking of gardens, I’m quite proud of how my little one is coming along. I even remember to water it a few times a week. This is mainly because I’m afraid of what my students would do if they found out that I let the pea plants that they planted die while they were away. (we studied plants last term). They will be so excited to see how much their little plants have grown…. Ok, I admit I’m kind of excited about it too. :)

Even more exciting then that though was when the container boxes arrived yesterday! Lina got her’s first so I went over to her house and oohhed and aaahhed as she opened hers. Then I went home and opened mine. For me it’s like Christmas and birthdays all wrapped up in dirty cardboard boxes. Pieces of home and love sent over in the form of t.p,, p.b and homemade preserves (among other things). Each missionary has their own method for the opening/sorting etc of boxes. Mine is: divide and conquer! I open all the boxes sorting/spreading the stuff all over the floor as I go; much like Christmas. Then once the excitement has died down do I start finding places to put everything. As this is not quite as exciting it can take me a few days to complete. Others are more “organized” in their approach and open and box and put the items all away before moving on to the next box. Although I see the “benefits” to this (mainly having space to move in the house) I just don’t find it exciting enough. It reminds me too much of my days in retail which I would rather forget.

Before I forget, I want to send out a huge “THANK YOU” to everyone who participated and donated to the getting these boxes to me. I don’t know how to thank you enough! Ok, a quick ‘favourites’ list and then I must get back to putting things away.

Favourite item: I think I’m gonna have to go with the wild mushroom mix, haven’t tried it yet but am so excited about it as I haven’t had mushrooms in ages!

Most useful item: well that’s gonna be a toss up between the printer and the bright yellow rain jacket; both will be used a LOT this term

Funniest item: the “singing” flag…not sure who put that in (I’m thinking one of my family members) but Lina and I had a good laugh. :)

Most ‘home-like’ item: mom’s preserves. Looking forward to that taste of home!

Well, that’s it for now. Must get the house back in order as next week I’m back in my classroom sorting that all out. Only a week and a bit left till the kids come back… I think I’m actually beginning to miss them…

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Birthday wanderings

I discovered last year that I share my birthdate with Pam Ronald, the nurse (among other jobs) here at Sakeji. So yesterday we had a joint birthday party at tea time with the Brass Tacks team and the skeletal staff left on station (the Ronalds and Lina). it was nice and low-key, just the way i like it. :) After the small party, Lina and I borrowed the school's truck and headed over to Kalene. Our mission was a shopping one; the market at (near) Kalene has different chitenge (material) than the one more local to Sakeji as the Kalene material usually comes from the Congo and the Ikelenge material comes up from Lusaka. Before we began our shopping we stopped on the side of the road for a little picnic. This caused great entertainment for the locals. Some of the women were actually (what I would consider) quite rude, standing right beside our truck, staring, laughing and pointing while we ate. They then had the audicity to sit and wait for a ride (which they didn't get, partly b/c we weren't going the direction they thought and partly b/c we were too annoyed). We looked in the various shops, checking out the materials and other goods. We were a little discouraged at first but then found what we were looking for. Success! :) Our next stop was supposed to be a quick stop at the dentist to make appointments for later; but who wants to visit the dentist on their birthday, so we skipped that stop.
We decided rather spontaneously to go see the Rapids, a spot my family often went camping at on term breaks while we were here. After a long 'off-roading'-type drive we arrived at the campsite and I was bombarded with happy memories. I was quite shocked to see the changes to the river, I knew when they put the power plant in they had diverted the river, but i guess i hadn't expected it would be so different. My brother Chris may be happy to know that the slightly dangerous, 'higher' rapids that left him with scars, is now no more. The river was quite low as it is the middle of the dry season, but there were still children sliding down the wet rocks as we did in 'days gone by'. It was so nice and peaceful there adn although we didn't have swimming gear, Lina and I waded a bit through the water, enjoying the cool water chilling our feet white the sun beat down tanning our ours and necks. We sat for awhile watching some dragonflies dart about. I named this one vibrant red one, Lushomo, after one of my over-active students. The thing wouldn't stop moving! Finally it settled long enough for some pictures. After a time we figured we should get back to 'reality' and headed for home.
We were both pretty tired (Lina's still fighting off bronchitis and i havn't been sleeping well) so we had a nap before supper. we then went up to join the kids (Ronalds and Kennedy's (brass tacks team)) for some games. I actually missed most of the games time as my wonderful brother called to wish me a happy birthday. After that a few of us 'younger' adults stayed up to watch a movie and enjoy some cholate-strawberry parfaits. the strawberries were from my own garden which made them that much yummier!
and that was my birthday. it may not seem glamourous and exciting, but it was a great day and i enjoyed every minute of it. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

sorry for the silence

I've been wanting to post since school let out,but we haven't been allowed to use the internet as we went way over our limit last month.
i spent the first few days relaxing and trying to get caught up on my dishes etc. Now i've buckled down for the bigger tasks. Yesterday I cleaned out my pantry/storage closet which took 1/2 the day as the previous owner was a hoarder and left a bunch of stuff. Now i've finally got some space for storing my stuff. I've also been "doing down"some veggies for my freezer so I'll have veg during the term.
Lina and I are in charge of 'morning tea' for the brass tacks men so we've been taking turns baking various things.
other things i've been up to...we all (the staff who are left on station) went to the cottage (or what's left of it) for a bbq/picnic which was pretty fun. Lina and i had planned to have a 'christmas in july' that day but had to re-arrange our plans. we still listened to christmas music and made a fairly cool looking gingerbread house. that all came about b/c I had sent the kit to Lina for christmas but it didn't arrive until June. we were much to busy to do it then so we planned on a 'christmas in july' on July 25th.
i don't think anything else has happened.
oh wait! i forgot to write about the baptisms. on the last day of school 22 of our students were baptised down in our pool. it was very exciting and cool that the parents were able to join us for this wonderful event! earlier in the day they kids who got baptised shared their testimonies with the whole school; it was very moving.
end of term program also went very well. Jill and Lina worked hard with the students and it paid off. the theme was 'Heaven and HOme' with the kids singing various songs/hymns about Heaven with Bible verses quoted intermitently throughout. I tried to tape it but had some trouble with my camera (especially as i don't have my tripod - hope it went on the container mom!) the sound turned out ok but the picture quality is pretty bad. I'm going to see if i can fix it up as just a sound recording, then i'll try posting it. don't hold ur breath though!
right, well i better get offline before i get into trouble!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

time to clean...

Just a few more days and then I can sleep in! I'm really looking forward to that! Today is the last 'full' day, tomorrow the parents come at 1:30 and then by THursday lunch the kids should be all gone. :)A lot of things still to happen between now and then but I'm not involved in it all so I have some time to relax and get my classroom (and house) in some order.
Tomorrow after the parents arrive we are having a baptism for about 12 of our senior students; it should be an exciting time. After that we have parent-teacher interviews which I've never enjoyed. I'm not as worried about it as last term, but there are some that I'm really not looking forward to! After that is the AGM (annual general meeting - i think). Basically it's a long boring meeting in which we update the parents on any changes and they can put forth any concerns etc. I've never been to one before as i skipped out early last year) but i'm not a huge fan of meetings and i've heard these ones can go quite long...

I'm still struggling with the fact that i'm not going home this break as I did last year. my brain keeps telling me that I need to start packing soon. It's weird because I don't want to leave, this is my home now, I think it's because I haven't stayed past 7 months before so my brain is freaking out a little. I'm sure I'll get used to it soon.

Well must get back to work. The kids are all practicing for their end of term show so I need to use the time 'wisely' and get my classroom presentable for parents!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

time is running away again...

I have started writing a blog several times in the past few weeks but obviously it has gotten no where. today i am determined to get one 'out there'. so although i'm on 'yard duty' i've brought my laptop out and have one eye on it and one on the children. so if there are parts that don't make sense i appoligize, it's hard to type while sorting out grade school dramas...

In the last two weeks we had 2 'big' events at the school. The first was our term birthday party (i've written of these before). This term our theme was "Around the World". The students made some nice artwork for the dining hall, various staff and visiting ladies made our usual beautiful cakes and Miss Saunders (the cook) went out of her way to come up with an 'ethnic' menu. The food was great although the students had differing opinions; as kids will. Some of the staff did a great job with their costumes others just threw things together. i had mine planned out, but ran out of time before i got it all together! I was a Maasi warrior (Kenya & Tanzania). I don't have a good picture of me in costume, but i'll see if i can find one from the other staff member's cameras and post it later. The evening 'entertainment' wasn't too bad as far as kid's skits go. some of the senior girls wrote and sang some great songs.
the second event was Sports Day. some of you may remember last year how the night before sports day it was decided that Mr. Ronald was too sick to run it and i was sort of thrown in charge. This year i knew i was 'safe' from that as there are 3 men on station! :) Phil Towse took a lot of time to organize things to the point of complicating and then... proceeded to get sick. Ahh! He was a great sport though and came out anyhow and made sure things ran smoothly and well, which was good as the rest of us had no clue how he had it planned out. :)
things went well with the kids running, jumping their little hearts out. as we now have "house" teams the kids seemed more determined then ever to win and again points for their team. as the Fisher house mistress it was my duty to yell and cheer them to victory. at the end of the day it was announced that Fisher had won. sadly our victory was short lived when it was discovered that the their was a miscalculation of points and it was infact Poole that won and Fisher was a close 2nd. As our house has been dominating the points board for most of the term i convinced my team that we have to let others have SOME time in the spotlight. :) i got hundreds (literally) of photos taken as i was one of the photographers. i'll try and get some posted up soon; once i sort through them.

in other news we had to say goodbye to 4 of our students this week. one of my students went home early as he had broken his tooth off almost to the root and in order to save it needed to visit a dentist immediatly. yesterday a grade 3 student was suspended (for stealing) yesterday. please pray for her as we've had a varioius problems with her this term. Today 2 boys left early as both of their parents are going on furlough. Daniel will not be returning as he'll be finishing elementary in Canada and so when he returns to Zambia will be at a high school. Josh will be in the US for 1 year and then will come back Sakeji for a year or 2. Please pray for them both as furloughs can be rough times for MK's particularly when they're junior high age. Daniel is having a particularly rough time of it as he has been at Sakeji since grade 1 and has spent the majority of his life in Zambia so it is hard to say goodbye to what he's always known. 2 more of our students will be leaving us (probably for good) as they too are moving to Canada. Their mother has lived there for a number of years and they will be joining her there. They are Zambian and will most likely find the move to Toronto a HUGE culture shock! Ntsheneshi will most likely be going into grade 7 in the fall (a difficult age to 'break into' a new school/make friends) and Musani will be in either grade 4 or 5. he already has trouble making friends and has a low self esteem.

on a positive note; classes will be done a week today! hurray! unfortunately i have to survive report cards first. one of the reasons i'm writing my blog today is b/c i'm avoiding the dreaded report cards!i've got the grades in and have now simply need to enter the remarks/comments (the hardest part).

well i guess i should wrap this up for now. pictures to follow (either on facebook or here)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Junior Field Trip

It wasn’t until this morning that I finally clued in that the month of June is nearly over! This term has just been flying by; I am SO far behind in everything, especially marking and report cards are coming up just around the corner! Ahh!

On a positive note I was finally able to take my class on a field trip to the farm. At the end of last term and the beginning of this one we were studying community helpers and ‘farmers’ were the last on the list. I had hoped to do a trip to the farm to find out “what farmers do” way back at the beginning of term, but plans kept falling through. However on Thursday morning I was informed that we were able to go if we went that afternoon! Despite the short notice I figured “it’s now or never” so the trip was put in motion. The 3 & 4 class joined as well as Mrs. Towse and her 2 preschool aged children. So in all we had 39 kids and 4 adults.

When we arrived Mr. Pete Fisher showed the children how they process grain (mostly corn) to make food pellets for the animals and meale-meal (cornmeal) for selling. They kids even got to try some of the pellets which some of them actually enjoyed! (yuck!) After this his son, Mr. Chris took us around to see the various animals. We got to see some cows being milked; many of the students were shocked to discover that this is where the milk comes from that we drink every day and put on our cereal. :) From there we went to visit the pigs. The boar stood nearly as tall as some of my grade ones! The kids preferred watching the new piglets, the youngest ones were only a week old and were still quite cute. We also got to see the ‘porkers’ (as Chris referred to them) which are the pigs who are raised simply for meat. On our way we saw the ‘sheep infirmary’, the pen where any sick sheep or those needing extra care (pregnant etc). I have to say that this was one day I was thankful for my cold as my sense of smell was pretty much nil so I wasn’t able to enjoy any of the wonderful odours!
From the ‘porkers we walked up to see the young and old bulls. On our way we passed a very lonely looking old horse; they only have one left now. There were some rather interesting questions about the bulls brought up by some of the students but I think they were all answered rather tactfully.

Over all we had a great trip. The kids had fun and actually learned some stuff at the same time. :) mission accomplished! (I’ve posted some pics on facebook

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

update on the Sakeji Copperbelt 'Tour'

I tried to write this post on my laptop in the car on the way home from Chingola as it was all still fresh in my mind. after about 10 minutes, however, I realized it was just too frustrating as i couldn't read the screen properly and the bounces were making my usually bad typing even worse! So i've finally found some time to sit down and write about our little trip.

We, the grade 7-9 students, Phil Towse, Janette Young and myself, left Sakeji shortly after breakfast on Saturday morning. It was quite an excited crowd both in the vehicles and waving goodbye as this type of trip hasn't been done at Sakeji before. Janette and I had a truck full of very excited pre-teen/teenage girls who sang or chattered like magpies for the first hour or so. Then the car became nice and quiet as they got bored and decided to nap. The drive to Chingola was pretty uneventful; we stopped once for a bag lunch and a few times for a bush 'pit stop' and once at NoNo's for some soft serve icecream. Once we arrived in Chingola our time was planned out fairly well. We had plenty to keep up busy, but not so busy that it wore us out. The first evening we relaxed, the kids swam in our host’s pool and we had a bbq supper. We finished off our day with a video. It was quite a long day and we stayed up quite late so we were all happy when it was time to trundle off to bed. We were all looking forward to sleeping in the next day!

What we weren’t expecting was to wake up bright and early to the sound of traffic! Not something we hear at Sakeji. The sun streaming through the windows was another annoyance for those of us who wanted to sleep in past 6am! Despite all that our day started off nicely and leisurely as we didn’t have to be at the Sunday service until 10am.
The girls enjoyed a breakfast of hot toast and a selection of cereals. (HOT toast is special treat in itself!) We spent much of our day at Amano Christian School. First for the morning service, and then lunch and ‘siesta’. The kids had a netball practice to get them warmed up and used to the court as it is twice the size of ours. After which the girls took themselves off to the dorm to find their new-found friends to ‘hang’ with. The boys were challenged to a football (soccer) match by the Amano boys. As we only had 3 boys and male staff members the teams were mixed up a bit to even it out. Running around in the sun for an hour or so is quite sweaty work, so we took the students back to their host houses for a swim (not enough time for everyone to shower) to try and reduce the smell before supper!

Monday morning the girls were quite nervous about the ‘tournament’ that was taking place that afternoon. We started our day with a tour of Amano, after which the students joined a PE class to play floor hockey. While this was going on Janette and I headed back into town to do a rather hurried grocery shopping. We met up with some old friends, the Campbells, for tea and a quick catch up then booted it back for lunch at Amano. The tournament began around 1:30 once the other team had arrived. There were only 3 schools involved but both Amano and Nchanga had 2 teams worth plus lots of subs to our one team with one sub. Despite that our girls played very well and didn’t lose a match! We tied one game though (although we disagree as they didn’t count 2 of our baskets!). They even beat the Amano mixed team which had some highschool kids on it! We’re quite proud of them. :)

After the tournament we went out for some more ice cream to celebrate and then back to our host’s house for a pizza party. It was a great way to end the weekend. By this point I was beginning to feel pretty exhausted and I’m sure the kids were running on adrenaline!

The next morning we had to get up early and pack up the car to go. We discovered once again that once you open a suitcase there’s no way to get everything back in! we had 8 girls, 2 staff and all our gear + groceries stuff in and on top of the Patrol as we made our way over to the boys house. Thankfully we were able to offload some of the stuff into their vehicle (as well as a few passengers) which made it a much more comfortable drive! The girls were much more subdued for a good portion of the trip but then they started to get silly. I was really feeling the affects of the cold I’ve been battling and finally gave in and had a snooze most of the way home. We arrived back at Sakeji around 4:30 pm, interrupting the staff vs student soccer game by singing “when the saints go marching in” at the top of our lungs while tooting the horn. We had to make a ‘grand’ entrance :) the juniors came running with smiles, giving hugs and shouting ‘we missed you SO much’! you’d think we were gone a month, not just 4 days!
All said, it was a good time. Now if only I can catch up on some sleep and get rid of this horrible cold!!

There were 5 teams competing in the tournament but only 2 schools as both Nchanga and Amano had 2 teams and lots of subs. Our girls, despite being nervous about competing for the first time, did VERY well. We’re not sure of the exact scores as the score keepers had different numbers but basically our girls were undefeated. At the very end they faced an Amano team that was made up of both elementary and highschool students and they beat them! We’re SO proud of them. While the games were taking place 2 of our boys got to go golfing with Phil’s brother, Jonathon and they had a blast doing so. After it was all over we loaded up into the cars and drove back for some well deserved icecream.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

thousands of words....

they say a picture paints a thousand words so (if this works)i'm gonna 'talk your ear off'.
i FINALLY took some pics of the work site and a few others just for fun.the first one is an interesting snack i discovered the students eating at tea time. apparently it's among the favs here at Sakeji. any guesses as to what it might be?
down the left hand side are pictures of the work site. the first is a side shot showing part of the new dining room with the old/current one behind it.
the second shot is from the 'front' of the new building. getting the trusses (i think they're called) into place. Praise the Lord this went smoothly without anyone being seriously injured!
the third shot i took b/c i find it very interesting that at every construction site there seems to be more workers standing around then doing work... apparently it's the same world-wide. :)

the pics of the kids i threw in b/c, well, they're cute. :) all the students received these very vibrant shirts from one of the members of the Brass Tacks team. They're uni shirts from Teeside Uni which i believe is somewhere in England. (sorry for my ignorance on the location). The kids were all super excited (orange is a fav colour here, although some shirts were white with orange writing) and wanted to wear them as soon as possible! They had to wait until the following morning, after breakfast, to put them on so we could take a school shot (which i'm sure will show up on our new calender or in a bush talk for those who receive it).
2 blogs in one day! wow, i really need to stop procrastinating and get some work done! K, i'm done talking. enjoy the pics!
Ok, this blog is gonna need some feedback. I know people have been reading it (i looked at the stats) so this time when you give a look just add a quick comment as well (here's why).
All (or rather most) of the houses on station have a name; Rosebank, Valley View, Corner House etc. My house, however remains nameless. Since I arrived I've been pondering a name off and on. Today as I was looking up/studying something completely unrelated I was distracted and ended up with a list of 'house' names. :) For those of you who might not know, Beth means 'house' in Hebrew. I found some interesting Biblical 'house'names. So I'll post the list and would love to hear what YOU think would be a great name for my abode. I now KNOW there are people reading my blog as I looked on the stats so no excuses!
The list is in no particular order:

1) Beth-emek = house of the valley (i live at the bottom of a hill)
2) Bether = separation (this one's for you Snooze!)
3) Beth-lebaoth = house of the lionesses :)
4) Beth-meon = house of habitation (as long as my worker has been there to clean it is!)
5) Beth-nimrah = house of leopardess
6) Beth-Palet/Phelet = house of escape (it is on my afternoons/wknds off!)
7) Beth-Shemesh = house of the sun (it does get lots of it)
8) Bethuel = dweller of God
9) Beth-zur = house of rock (technically it's brick)

ok. i know i should have a nice even number like 10, but you'll have to deal with it cuz i don't. :) I tho't of doing "Beth-Sheach" as in "house of Sheach" but that seemed a LITTLE much. :) please let me know which one you think is best and why. or if you have different/better one feel free to suggest. :D

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

the station is becoming overrun with men and i'm off on another trip!

the first of the brass tacks team arrived just after Lina and i headed off to Lusaka on our holiday. They have spent the last 5 (or is it 6) weeks building the walls etc of the new dining hall. Tomorrow morning Paul and Jim leave here to head back to England on Saturday. In the past few weeks we've had 4 more men descend upon the station to take up where Paul and Jim have left off. It's rather odd to see nearly even numbers of men and women at tea times each day as we're so used to the women out numbering the men 4 to 1 (sometimes way more then that)! Please pray for the team over the next few weeks as they come to the more dangerous part of the work, the trusses/roof and all that involves (i'm not exactly sure what that is, but it sounds kinda dangerous!). thankfully we've only had some very minor injuries (cuts and scrapes) so far.

in other news; for the first time in (known - please correct me if i'm wrong) Sakeji history. the senior class is heading out on a 'sports tour'. what this really means is that they're heading down to Chigola to the "new" Amano school to compete in a netball tourney. Phil Towse has arranged the whole thing and the students are quite excited. Janette Young and myself will be going as well as it's an overnight thing. Actually we'll be leaving a week Saturday and coming back on the Tuesday. The students (and staff) will be missing morning classes on Saturday (which of course, we're all pretty cut-up about) but as the Monday and Tuesday are half-term that will be all we're missing. Please pray for us all as we head down, for safety etc. As this is the first time we've done it, we're not sure what the costs will be (donations are always welcome ;) ) but we're hoping it will be feasible enough that it can become a yearly occurance. and that we might be able to host other schools in the future (once we get some new courts/fields set up - which is not in the forseeable future).

i'll probably get in trouble for this, but to put in a plug for the school. we have several "ongoing and upcoming" projects that are not always known to others until they are complete. when i was home people wanted to know how they could support the School and was it possible to help out with specific projects. Financially it an be done through MSC Canada or CMML (USA). A general donation can be made or you can specify if there is a certain project you would like to help with. If you would like to help out physically (ie. working on one of the building projects) contact me and I can put you in touch of the person in charge.

I have listed below a few of the projects (that i know of).

1) New diningroom/kitchen - currently underway, hope to be finished by September-ish
2) new roof for the dorm (current one leaks like a seive!!) - still getting priced/plans drafted etc
3) improvements to the sports program - like the trip, also fixing up courts/fields & getting new and good quality equipment that will last
4) improvements to the music program - this one isn't official, but i know Lina would like to be able to make some changes. having instuments (other then the recorder)for the students to learn would be nice
5) fixing up the classrooms (structural stuff)

i'm sure there are many more "projects" and there always will be. but we try to take one day at a time and trust the Lord will provide for the things we need as He has promised. So please don't take this blog as "begging for money" i don't mean it to be like that at all. I simply want to make others aware of some of the future plans.

well i must go. long day tomorrow and it's only 1/2 planned out!
thanks once again for reading!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

First week & 1/2 of school... done!

Wow, it’s been ages since I’ve blogged; in fact I’m behind in all my correspondence (nothing new there tho).
School has been underway for about a week and ½ now and things are going relatively smoothly which is very nice! Erika (one of the ‘new girls’) has been a tremendous help as she’s in my classroom most of the day. I’m not sure how I’ll survive when she goes home! It’s nice to have an extra pair of hands and eyes helping out and she’s great with the kids!
My students are finally back in to the school routine (mostly) and I was pleasantly surprised over the progress some of them had made over the school break. Obviously some of their parents took my report card remarks seriously, which is nice to know. :) The little girl who I was the most worried about is doing a little better, her reading is really coming along. But she still struggles with working independently. This is ok at the moment as I have help, but when Erika leaves she’ll have to learn that the work needs to get done even if I’m not sitting beside her nagging!
Last weekend I ‘shadowed’ Vickie in the kitchen trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do when It’s my weekend ‘on duty’. Thankfully it’s not overly involved really. This weekend is my first weekend on duty and so far it’s gone well. I didn’t even screw up the cookie dough this morning :) In about 15 minutes I have to go slice the roasts (not my fav job) so hopefully I won’t have any major problems there! My biggest issue is the amt of time it takes as I have to cut it all by hand an d my hand starts cramping after about 20 mins! Oh well, that’s life I guess.
Not too much else to report at this time. I’m a little jealous of all the Canadians who get the day off tomorrow (Victoria Day) I just can’t convince them here that it should be a stat holiday… even if it was, we ‘d still have 70+ kids to supervise. :P
Must go… the roasts await!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Catching up...

I am sorry for being so remiss in writing. I’ve had some trouble again trying to get the website to publish my blog which is most annoying! I believe the last time I wrote I was in Lusaka. Since then I have (obviously) arrived back home to Sakeji safely but not without difficulties on the way home. My three biggest issues were that I had somehow picked up a tummy bug the day before we left which did not make for a comfortable 2 day trip. On top of that the Police had their little stops EVERYWHERE and Lina and I were hauled over a few times. I received a fine for having “the wrong plates” on my vehicle; no amt of (polite) arguing would convince them not to give me one. So I paid the K180,000 (about US $40). The last annoying thing was that we weren’t able to take our driving tests as the guy decided not to do testing on that day! This bothered Lina more than me as I wasn’t feeling well enough to do it anyhow but it was still irritating. After we left the tarmac I got stuck in a massive very muddy puddle but were able to get ourselves out with prayer and determination!
Since arriving home I took some more time to just relax and enjoy the break before I got back into my classroom and started rearranging furniture and bulletin boards. I still have two rather huge bulletin boards to do and am hoping some wonderful inspiration hits me today (Monday) as the students come back tomorrow!
The Brass Tacks team has done a great job with our new dining hall so far; the walls are coming up nicely. They’ll continue with this until about August with different groups coming to work on the various aspects of it. I keep forgetting to take pictures of the work (sorry Dad) but will try and remember to get some this week which I will post on Facebook as I can’t seem to put pictures up here. (there are pictures from my trip on facebook already).
Next term seems to be getting all sorted out which is good as classes start up on Wednesday (1/2 day). Friday we had our teacher’s meeting and then yesterday was our first staff meeting of the term. Both seemed to go rather well. 2 big changes: 1) We have three new ‘short termers’ now who arrived yesterday just in time for the meeting 2) with Bethany on furlough I’ll be ‘supervising’ in the kitchen every other weekend. I’m a little nervous about this but more worried about the early morning on Sunday as I have to be in the kitchen well before breakfast; thankfully it’s an hour later on Sundays!
The three girls who came all seem pretty cool (and I’m not just writing that because they told me the read my blog!) and willing to help wherever needed which is always awesome! I’ve already put in my requests for times I’d like help in class, now I just have to wait and see how lucky I am. :)
Well that’s all for now, I probably won’t write again until after school has started. Happy (belated) Mother’s Day to all you Mom’s out there but especially to my Mom and Grandmas! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

the spending begins...

not to worry, this will be Much shorter then yesterday. Today Lina and I went to church 1/2 hr late (read the schedule wrong)and went immediatly afterwards to the craft market. we had a great time looking at all the different things, bargaining down the prices (or attempting to) and of course getting fried to a nice lobster red in the hot, hot sun. don't worry mom, we remembered to stop for water breaks so weren't completely dehydrated, just mostly. ;) i am happy to say i now have most of my christmas shopping done and am quite pleased with my purchases.

we returned to the flight house for a little break from the sun, a quick movie and lots of fluids! then got dressed up to go out for a nice supper at Rhapsody's. (0ne of my fav restaurants here). the meal was absolutely perfect and the atmostsphere stunning. a great way to end a fab day! bring on tomorrow!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

on the road again!

Well it's been an... interesting last couple of days. fun, scary, frustrating, tiring are all words i have used at different point of our trip so far...

Thursday morning Lina and i left Sakeji shortly before 7am. i let Lina drive while i woke up, which happened rather quickly as the roads are still rather bumpy! we only had one slightly terrifing moment when we got stuck in the mud in a HUGE puddle. however, my father's past words of wisdom helped us get out of a sticky situation without even getting ourselves muddy! (i wasn't really looking forward to pushing the Patrol!) We arrived in Solwezi and went to the hotel we planned to stay at only to find the were all booked up, as were several other reputable establishments... eventually we found a place with a room that looked decent enough for one night. we had both been looking forward to the AWESOME showers at the Solwezi hotel so were extremely disappointed to find the shower had NO hot water and very little water pressure! In Solwezi we managed to get our Provisional (beginner) liscences which allows us to drive for 3 mths. we'll be trying for our full liscences next thursday. Lina dyed my hair and then we dressed up and went out to a fancy restaurant for supper. Not a complete waste after all... the steak was AWESOME and about 1/2 the price i'd have paid at home!

Friday we left about 7am (this time i was driving) heading for Chingelo School. The drive seemed to take forever this time, not sure why. We made one roadside stop where i purchased a couple chairs for my porch/chota. We stopped in Kitwe to run a few errands, the first was to see if we could take our drivers test there. after giving us the run-around and making us fill out another form, they informed us that we had to finished the test in solwezi because that is where we had started it. sigh... TIA. We had to make a stop to order some baby chicks which will (unfortunately) be making the return trip with us (to later become supper during the term). When we stopped in Shoprite to pick up some lunch a boy told me he would watch the car "real nice" - Zambian "parking security". i didn't want to argue so i said 'fine'. when we came back out we didn't recognize our vehicle b/c a bunch of teens had washed all the mud off! of course they (at least 6 of them) wanted to be paid for this. I told them no b/c i didn't ask them to clean it in the first place (yes, i'm that mean). i did however pay the boy who watched my car a few kwatcha which he found great pleasure in showing to the others. We finally made it to Chingelo at 4pm-ish and enjoyed a nice cup of tea; my first ALL day, which for me was pushing it! Kukena (a Sakeji alumni) took us on a nice walk/tour of the grounds. it was so nice to strech our legs after all that driving!

This morning we slept in... till 8am. after a nice breakfast we set off once again, this time for Lusaka. Lina and I continued working on our 'truckers' tans, switching driving to 'even out' the redness of our arms. We made it into Lusaka after 4 hrs of uneventful driving and were greated by teh sights and sounds of 'big city life'. We're quite proud of ourselves for being able to navigate the city so well and only got turned about once, but quickly figured out where we had gone wrong and found the CMML Flight House rather quickly after that. We've had a rather enjoyable day doing soem light shopping, eating ice cream, discovering and enjoying KFC (yes, it was just as good as Canada!) and ended the day with a Latte from a nice new cafe. Sigh... life is good. :D (for pictures, check out facebook)

Monday, April 11, 2011

fixing a 'faux-pas'

I was told that i have commited a blogger faux-pas... i have blogged about a kitten without showing pictures. i will try and rectify that now. although in my defense, it is extremelty hard to get a picture of Callie as i only see her in the wee hours of the morning & she's hardly a kitten anymore as she'll be a year next month.

(blogger won't let me post a pic at this time; will try again tomorrow...sorry!)

in other news i've been really enjoying my current freedom, although i have yet been able to sleep in past 6:30am thanks to Callie and the station kids. I spent a good part of yesterday morning cleaning and re-arranging my bedroom (for the first time since moving in). Then when my allergies where beyond coping with i went out for some fresh air and then over to Lina's house for sewing. Quite an enjoyable afternoon. :)

Today i got up and made an awesome breaky for myself, Lina and Rachel then the 3 of us drove off into Ikelenge for a few errands and "shopping". Lina and I are trying to get used to the Patrol before we attempt our driving tests. When we got back, Lina and i drove up to the airstrip to practice the dreaded backing up through pylons test. this is the stupidest test i have ever seen for driving. i'm not sure when i would ever use the technique needed to get through the narrow cones backwards unless of course reverse was the only option available on my vehicle. :S

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Term one is done!

Well, i managed to survive to the end (or pretty close). I was right about the report cards, i did miss something... one whole report but i got it done in no time and was one of the (if not the) first to have mine ready. (that's gotta be a first for me!)

the rest of our week flew by and this morning i got up in time (barely) to say goodbye to the first lot of kids to fly out, as well as Bethany Fuller who is going on furlough. My class spent the morning watching videos and playing in the beautiful sunshine anxiously anticipating the arrival of their parents. At 1pm the children are allowed to go to the 'round about' to sit and watch the parents arrive. At 1:30 the parent-teacher interviews begin. this is what i was dreading! i've never enjoyed the interviews but they were all rather quick here and i only had 4 show up so most of the time i spent sitting in my classroom kinda bored.

just before 1:30 my new kitty arrived! she's SO cute but rather timid/shy at the moment. i had to leave her alone to explore the house as i had to get to the interviews. when i came back an hour later she was NO where to be found! it was then i discovered the open window with a convenient chair sitting right underneath it. we spent some time looking for her but i again had to return to interviews so i spent the rest of the time worrying about her as there's a rather dense bush area behind my house and lots of traffic today. around 4pm i returned to my house, still no sign of Callie. Lina joined me for a cup of tea and a time of relaxing then a huge storm hit with crazy winds blowing the rain (and trees) everywhere. Suddenly i remembered the open windows upstairs! i ran up and sure enough the rain was pouring through and everything was soaked! Lina grabbed some of my towels from linen closet and rushed up to help clean up. while we were up there we heard a cat cry! lina ran down to open the down but she wasn't outside. when i went back downstairs to look for her i found her in the linen closet. she had been hiding under my bathtub (as there's a little crawlspace under it). i was able to pet her a bit and then she charged back under the tub (gotta cover that hole!) and has decided to stay there for now. hopefully she'll get used to me soon, she has, after all had a rather tramatic few days of travel.

well i'm off to celebrate with a lina, watching a movie and treats. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

time to relax... well almost

ahhhh... report cards done. at least i think they're done. inevitably i'll get a little note in my box tomorrow telling me i missed some comment or grade, but that i can handle. poor Lina is still plugging away at hers as she has grade 5 & 6 marks as well as the whole school's music marks and comments. so glad that's NOT me!
i can't believe how quickly this week has flown by, i was looking forward to my friday afternoon off all week and then i spent the whole afternoon doing report cards so i feel rather cheated. :( this is my weekend on, but i don't have too many duties so will have time to relax somewhat. then monday is the last full day of classes, tuesday and wednesday are half days and wednesday afternoon/thurs morn the kids leave. HURRAY! we're definately all in need of some time away from each other.

exciting things that have happened this week:
1) 2 baby lambs (3 days old)arrived at the school yesterday from the farm. they're orphans and Pete Fisher tho't we (the school) might enjoy raising them. i think he just didn't want to bother with the several times a night feedings! they are SO cute! they look like baby goats (as all sheep here do) except their tails go down (goat's tails stick up). that's pretty much the only way we can tell the difference here. they're not 'whooly' sheep like back home.
2) Janet read a whole sentence without assistance! (i guess this should have been my first exciting thing, but i was thinking about the lambs first.) she will be coming back next term (i didn't really get a say in the matter) but will probably be repeating grade one (unless there is a drastic improvement in the next two terms).

i'm sure there are other things i should be blogging about but my brain shut down several hours ago so i'm off to bed!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

quick update

just a few words before i head off to bed.
can't believe we're in the final few weeks of term! two weeks left (starting tomorrow)! started on entering report cards grades last night. it always amazes me how long this process takes. as ever, i'm hopeful that it won't take quite as long this time.... we'll see.

my term break plans are beginning to take shape; other then the obvious relaxing and then planning for next term and re-arranging the classroom... Lina and i have decided to take a week-long "road trip" to Lusaka. We're still in the planning stage, but today we actually settled on the most probable dates and route (well, not really the 'route' as there's really one 1 main road, but stops and such). the point of our trip is three-fold:
2)getting (hopefully) our Zambian liscences
3)getting off station and having some fun (not TOO much of course, we are after all still missionaries) ;)

the last little bit of news is that i'm getting a (young)cat! :) I know this may not be exciting to most readers, but i'm rather excited as i really miss having a feline friend around the house, maybe she'll keep the lizards at bay. (saw a HUGE one in my living room on Saturday). the parents of one of the grade 7 students are looking for a new home for a "kitten" (nearly a year old) as they'll be going on furlough soon. so she should be coming up in 2 weeks when they come. :) of course this means i'll haveto find someone to look after her while i gallavant around the country shortly after that, but i'm sure that won't be tooo much of a problem as cats usually fend for themselves a good deal.

well that's it for now. i'm off to bed!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

the fun has ended once again...

Sadly 1/2 term is over now and school must begin again tomorrow. My finger is nearly back to it's normal size and colour after swelling up like a balloon and changing to the various colours in the rainbow!

The staff vs students games all went quite well considering it was only our 2nd time playing netball (first for some) and it's been a very long time (if ever) for some of us and basketball as well! I can't remember the scores but we had to play 2 games of each sport (we also played football aka Soccer) first with the 5 & 6's and then against the 7 & 8's. I THINK we won or tied all our games, but the students may have beaten us in one of the basketball games. We only had 8 players for our soccer matches (some were injured from the previous sports) but we still managed to beat them. :) it was a much closer match this time though, which was more fun to play. these kids definately need to learn more of the soccer rules though (some of the staff too) as there were some horrible throw-ins and constant off-sides, but that's for Phil Towes to sort out as he's unofficially in charge of all sports now. :)

this 1/2 term went much better then the first one, mainly b/c there wasn't a 'cloud of doom' hanging over us all. the students were able to get their sweets, but were closesly monitered this time and i think they knew they were going to be so they were on their best behaviour.

Lina and i took the kids tubing yesterday and had only got caught up once or twice as the water was nice and high. i think we shocked a few Zambian guys who were standing on the bridge watching us go by, but that's really nothing new for us. ;)

Not sure when i'll be posting next as tomorrow I start on report cards. I've got a few grades tallied and would like to get it done a bit early this term (less pressure in the end). still have lots of stuff to mark and "comments" to figure out but hopefully it won't take as long as usual!

haven't heard much news "from home" would love to hear from you all!

Half term and other fun

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been having some trouble with my blog account and the internet. It seems it’s rather hit and miss if it will let me post or not.
Things have been as busy as ever! We celebrated birthday party with famous people (the theme of the night) and despite the crazy thunderstorm that kept knocking out the power, we had a lot of fun.
Today (Friday) is the first day of our second ½ term break (we get two in 1st and 3rd terms) and although it’s been rather fun, it’s also been somewhat painful for me. This morning as I was fooling around playing basketball with some of the kids, I tripped (I blame it entirely on the uneven court which is full of holes!) anyhow, i knew I was going down and as I tried to do it without landing on the court (which would mean a great loss of skin) or landing on one of the grade 2 students I ended up landing pinkie finger first on the grass. Although the landing ended up being softer then the court my poor finger is sprained and turning all kinds of wonderful colours (much to the amusement of the students). I also somehow managed to injure one of my toes (I was playing barefoot in true Zambian style) which is also a pretty shade of purple. Most people would have learned their lesson and called it quits for the day. I however, don’t know when to quit! :S about ½ an hour later the staff were having a netball practice (we’re trying to learn how to play as we have a game against the senior students tomorrow) and of course I couldn’t resist. Unfortunately today seems to be my clutzy day as I found myself on the ground again, this time losing all the skin on my right knee and of course it didn’t help my finger any! I have decided that like most non-contact sports netball can be very dangerous! I much prefer basketball as it makes so much more sense! I was forever getting into trouble for getting to close to the oponents; you have to stay 3 feet away from whoever has the ball… what kinda lame game is this? Of course, I’ll still play tomorrow morning, can’t resist a good clash up with the students… just hope I don’t break a leg or I won’t be able to play soccer in the afternoon!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

blog is giving me grief!

for some unknown reason Blogspot has been giving me trouble, hence the reason i haven't posted in awhile. i've tried several times and everytime i tell it to post it shuts me out. so here goes one more time... the following post was written after LAST weekend. i'll try and get a more updated on tomorrow or tuesday... if all works well

The past week has been busy, crazy and yet still fun. As I mentioned in my last post, the container boxes arrived on Tuesday, bringing with it much excitement and work. Since then my house has looked like a war zone with boxes exploding everywhere! I’m slowly finding a “place” for everything and with my pictures and curtains up and my dishes and such in the cupboards, it’s finally feeling like MY home and not like I’m staying in someone else’s house. As well as the added work from the containers, the board members came to Sakeji on Thursday for their annual meeting which took place Friday. This meant extra time spent “socializing” and getting to know them and not getting marking and such done. A blessing from having the board members around is that some of them brought their wives or visitors which meant extra hands willing to help the students who are struggling. I was also able to do a “field trip” of sorts as 3 ladies volunteered to help out. In Science we have been learning about our senses, and most recently our sense of smell. So we did a smelling tour of the school. Starting at the work shop and wandering around past the garden (and compost heaps) etc. The kids had a blast smelling the various things and had to take notes of what they smelled and if it was a good or bad smell. We all had a great time and hopefully they learned something. But by lunch on Friday I was so glad it was my afternoon off! I convinced Rachel to come for a ride with me (it’s her afternoon off as well) so it didn’t really take all that much convincing. I borrowed Jill’s truck and headed out for an “afternoon on the town”. Of course we chose a bad time to go into the market as everyone was still on their lunch breaks even though it was 1:45. I guess they get longer lunch breaks then we do! We found a few shops open and did some “clothes” shopping, picking up some yitengi (material) to make some new clothes and some more ‘talk time’ for our phones. Our next stop was at the post office, but sadly there was no mail. :( By this time we were melting in the heat and humidity; so we made one more stop at the butchery to stock my freezer with some meat for my time- off meals. Our shopping complete, we returned to Sakeji, and I began working on my boxes again.
Saturday after lunch was the beginning of my weekend off so I skipped lunch and kept tackling the house. The Ferguson’s (related to the Fisher’s who own the farm) invited all the staff (or those who could make it) to their house for the afternoon/evening so a crew of us went over. I helped roll out tortilla’s (we had to make several batches as there were about 20 of us) for tacos. We had a great time playing volleyball, badminton and various other activities and of course the food was fabulous. We finished off the evening around a bonfire. What an AMAZING day! And the weather was PERFECT! Sunday arrived with glorious weather and those of us who were off duty filled a vehicle and headed out to Sahandu (one of my favourite churches) ½ way to Kalene Hospital. We had a great time of fellowship with the saints there and then spent some time visiting with one of the elders who wasn’t able to make it to church as he has been ill. We arrived back at Sakeji to find they had NOT had such a wonderful morning. One of my grade one students had fallen off the monkey bars and broke her wrist! Unfortunately Kalene Hospital does not do x-rays on Sundays, so she didn’t get her cast on until today. (poor kid!) That was not the last injury of the day, but was the most significant one. Apparently the rest of the day was full of accidents, bumps and bruises and bandaids. I’m SO glad I was not on duty! :) After such a wonderful weekend (for me anyhow) I have to say it was a little hard to wake up this morning and go back to the “daily grind” of classes but we all survived the day intact! Please pray for Abigail, that her wrist will heal quickly, poor kid is gonna miss out on most of the 2nd ½ term fun. Thankfully it was her left wrist and she is right handed, so she’ll be able to keep up with her school work. Ok, enough rambling! I promised some pics but right now i'm just hoping this will post. pics to come (hopefully) or check them out on facebook.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the container boxes have arrived!

Here at Sakeji excitement is running high and energy is running low. It’s not the students I refer to but the staff. This morning, just before lunch the ‘lorry’ (truck) pulled in loaded down with our boxes from the Canadian container (which was shipped in October). Christmas has come! Unfortunately it means a full day (especially for the men) of sorting boxes and hauling them to the appropriate buildings. Many hands were required for unpacking the food order to ensure it had all arrived and was put away in it’s proper place. Yay! We’ll get fed for another term or two. :)
It was quite exciting to see them loading up the back of a pick-up truck with all the boxes that were headed to my house and even more exciting as they arrived and I started to peek through them. But the novelty quickly wore off as I started having to weigh them all and record how much they way and check the numbers to see if they have all arrived yet. When I left my house t 2pm to return to class they had not all arrived yet, but I’m hoping they’ll be there when I go down after prep today. Just 10 more minutes! Then the fun begins. Ripping into the boxes to see what’s inside. Most of them shouldn’t be a surprise as I packed them at my house (see blogs in October) but some of them I haven’t seen before so it’ll be a nice surprise. Thanks SO much in advance to those of you who packed and shipped boxes. I’m sure I’ll enjoy everything inside. I’ll have pictures up next post.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

boosters are no fun!

Tuesday I had the wonderful priviledge of getting a rabies booster. It was totally different from the last one I got which was inter-muscular. This one was more like a TB test where it just goes under the skin. It "pinched" a bit going in, but that was it. I was told that it might get itchy so was quite impressed with myself when it wasn't bothering me at all... until this morning. Today I woke up with a large red slightly swollen circle on my arm that is INSANELY itchy at times. of course, like anything really itchy, I'm not allowed to scratch it! :( so instead i've scratched away all the skin everywhere BUT the place that's itchy hoping it will somehow help... of course it doesn't. The grade one students, who got the needle at the same time as me (most of whom were quite brave about it) seem to be having no problems. i asked if they were itchy and they said "no" and seemed to think it was quite amusing that mine was. how fair is that?!

other then that not too much is going on. mark ronald headed down to the copper belt to help pack a truck with some of the container boxes and will be bringing some back with him when he returns this weekend. the stuff he'll be bringing will most likely be food stuffs for the kichen, but it's very exciting that we'll be getting the boxes soon (Lord willing, if the roads hold). We've had a lot of rain, but not nearly as much as I remember from last year. thankfully the last few days the rain has been mostly at night or when we're in buildings (school or dining room). unfortunately i seem to have misplaced my umbrella and so have gotten wet a few times running from building to building.:S

i guess that's about it for now. can't think cuz i just need to scratch this thing on my arm! ahhh...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

First 1/2 term break

The first 1/2 term break has come and gone but not without leaving some lasting memories... some good, so not so good.

Unfortunately half term got started off on the wrong note when it was discovered that there was some theft going on during "sweets" (a time when each student is alloted "40p" worth of candy to put in their candy jar). Some of the seniors are given the responsibility (and priviledge) of handing out the sweets and they took it upon themselves to give out extras, not one or two, but enough to over-fill their sweet jars. This was bad enough but when confronted about it, several of them chose to lie as well and none of them seemed repentent,rather they were just upset that they had been found out. Their actions caused them to miss out on everything for the rest of the day and they lost several priviledges including all their candy. Thankfully the juniors (grades 1-4) were able to still enjoy their day and a beautiful day it was too! We couldn't have asked for better 'beach' weather as we spent 80% of our day at the river/pool. Of course, being the brilliant person I am, I totally disregarded the sunscreen until it was too late and am now a nice lobster red. Unfortunately many of my students do not understand what it means to be sunburnt and that it hurts me when they tap me on the shoulder or jump on me to give me a hug. :S

At the dawn of Tuesday we were all a little wary of what to do about the seniors, but it was decided that they were going to be allowed to enjoy the days activities. So Lina, Rachel, Mare and I had the pleasure of taking the most senior students tubing. This time there was not great lightening shows or torrential rains, just a leisurly float down the river (getting stuck in a few places). It would have been nearly perfect if one large black spider had not decided to hitch on my tube for the ride. I let him know quickly that he was not welcome and even managed to do it without too much yelling or tipping myself off. :)Just after lunch came the rain and I was rather worried that our staff vs student soccer game would be called off! Thankfully the thunder rolled away and took the lightening with it, so we were able to proceed with out game in a light rain. We had 10 staff show up to play with various degrees of soccer "skills". The first half the students were only allowed to have 10 on at a time. By the end of the first half the score was 5-0 for the staff and we were really ready for a break! The second half we decided to give the students a little break, so they got a fresh "new" team of students and were allowed to add an extra 2 players. Us old 'fogies' rallied together and managed to shut them out until the last minute of the game. The final score was 7-1 for the staff. I was quite impressed with the effort put forth, especially by those who didn't really want to play, but did so because i asked them too. :) It was suggested by some that we have staff/student games on a regular basis. I thought this was a pretty good idea, however, my leg muscles today aren't agreeing with me! Over all it was a great way to end out our 1/2 term break. The extra fresh air, sunshine and excercise wore our more then myself; one of my grade one students literally fell asleep in my arms during video last night and several of them looked rather drousy in class this morning! Hopefully they'll we'll ALL get a good nights sleep tonight and be ready to tackle classes again tomorrow!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

So Sorry!!!

I have tried to write/post several times over the last few weeks but have had lots of problems with the internet and storms. SO... here is a blog written last Wednesday and I'll try and post again on tomorrow or Tuesday.....

Sorry about the delay in updating my blog. It seems like every time i have a spare moment, the internet is not working or there is a storm and we’ve had to turn it off. So I’m typing this now well the internet is off in hopes that as soon as it comes back on I’ll be able to post.
Things have been flying along, some days faster then others. I am always so shocked at how quickly the months go by when you’re kept busy. My 19 students are certainly keeping me on my toes! I have had days (and sometimes weeks) where I’m ready to pack it all in and find an easier, more boring job; but then one of the students will do or say something and I remember why I’m here and how I actually DO love teaching. :)
My grade one students are slowly beginning to learn the classroom rules and understanding commands/questions in English, but it is definatley a daily struggle for us all! The past few days have been most encouraging as the one student who I’ve been the most worried/stressed about is finally coming around. She is still a real handful (not behaviour, just academic) and very much behind, but the light is beginning to dawn which is so exciting! She actually was able to read words for the first time today and I almost hugged her! I don’t want to get too excited about it yet, because I know that one day they’ll ‘get it’ and the next they won’t remember anything; but we’re definitely headed in the right direction. I was going to say it just gets easier from here, but I know that’s not entirely true. Rachel has been a great help and has moved on from being a teacher’s assistant to actually teaching the grade 2’s math and language/grammar. This has allowed me to focus and work more on the grade ones, specifically those who are behind. Joint classes (social studies, science, health etc) are still rather draining, but that’s not unusual.
The other thing which I’m quite excited about is that we’re starting a Ladies Bible study for the staff/teachers of Sakeji tomorrow. It’s one thing I really felt was missing last year when I was here. Although we are daily in the Word with the kids, sometimes I feel like I’m missing an ‘adult’ perspective. I’m not sure who all will come, but I know it will be a good time of sharing and fellowship.
Well I must go and get changed so I’m ready for swimming lessons when the bell rings! Not really looking forward to it today as it’s kind of a cold, wet day. But who knows, maybe things will change in the next 30 mins… it’s been known to happen before. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

so much to do... so little energy!

(written yesterday)

I am still amazed at how quickly children zap all your energy from you! It's not fair really because they're aready have SO much; do they really need to expend ours as well? Currently enjoying the 15 mins of quiet time (known as prayers) but am starting to cringe as the clock ticks closer to the supper hour as the silence will be broken once again.
It has been most interesting and as i mentioned already, draining getting to know these little students of mine. today 8 of 10 of my grade ones now know their short vowel sounds. we'll see how many of them remember them tomorrow as we move on to the consonants. there's the bell for supper back in a bit...

Rachel has been a big help! She has agreed to teach the grade 2's math; which makes it easier for me to teach the grade ones (less distractions with the other class in another room). Hopefully we'll be able to do the same thing for language/phonics as well. Last year I was stressing at having 2 students that were so far behind in reading; this year it's the norm for grade one and I have a grade 2 that is still learning her sounds. Right now my prayer for each day is for strength and lots of patience to get through the day. I think things will get easier as we go along as the students will learn what is expected of them, also those who aren't fluent in English will pick it up from the constant exposure.

My problem student from last year, who was sent home after the first term, is back. So far she has behaved herself. Although I had to speak to her a few times today, she is doing significantly better then last year in both her attitude and academics. Praise the Lord!

Well, I think I am going to go home, have a nice cup of tea, put my feet up and lose myself in a good book. :D

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And they're back!

Yes, the kids have now arrived back to school. Since arriving myself it's been crazy trying to get my house and classroom in order before they came. THankfully I had some help and all seems to be in place. Today was officially the first day of school, but I don't start my classes till tomorrow. I forgot how intense the first day is! Trying to learn all the names (especially the Zambian ones) trying to overcome the cultural & language barriers. I think some of my students had no clue what was going on today as they didn't seem to understand myself or Rachel. Rachel is from Glasgow and has the accent to go with it, so I think the younger ones who are already struggling with English are having trouble with her "Scottish".

This is the first time I've ever taught with a TA in the room (Rachel) so it will be rather interesting. I'll have both grades (19 children) at the same time for all subjects, which just might be more then I can handle, which is why Rachel is helping out. She was a little unsure of teaching on her own this term, so she'll just be assisting, but I'll take whatever help I can get. I know teachers teach multi-grades all the time, but I find it's slightly different in Zambia then back home. Grade one is often like teaching several grades as they come in with various levels of teaching (or none at all). At least 2/3's of my Grade 1 (and one grade 2)students don't know their alphabet sounds. So we'll be using basic phonics with them; whereas the rest of them can read short words. I haven't really seen the math "skills" yet, but hopefully the gap isn't as wide!

well, it's getting late and i have an early morning tomorrow starting with teaching children how to eat breakfast properly. (no joke)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Has Arrived!

Arrived at Sakeji today around noon (i think). Yesterday was such a mess of airports and canelled and delayed flights that I don't want to even think about it anymore! I finally got to Heathrow collected my stored bags without any hassel and checked them in to the next flight. I had a bit of time to wander some of the shops and pick up some duty free chocolates to share with the staff (and maybe good children) here. The flight to Lusaka was much better then last years! I didn't have an annoying seatmate unfortunately Rachel wasn't able to book beside me either. As per the norm, I didn't get any sleep, although I sort of dozed from time to time; so the flight seemed really long. I had forgotten that there is currently a 2 hour time difference between the UK and Zambia (no daylight savings time in Zambia) so we arrived at 4:30am UK time. thankfully there were no problems at the customs, although Zambia someone got some new technology (toys) in the last 4 months b/c we had to have our picture taken and fingerprints scanned. I didn't even know they had computers! of course BOTH the luggage carasels were broken which made collecting our bags long and tedious, but praise the Lord they were all there. (Mine, Rachel's, the Poidevins, & Baileys). Rachel and I had some time to kill in the Lusaka airport as the CMML plane we were supposed to be flying out on was still in the shop and the pilot had to go pick it up so we went to the lounge and got some cokes. Our flight to Sakeji seemed much longer then the 3 hours as I was tired and just wanted to get there! it was nice to see everyone waiting to greet us at the airstrip, hugs and introductions ensued. I went down to check out my new place (house all to myself this time:)) then went for some lunch at the Ronalds. After lunch I unpacked my bags and put away all my clothes, everything else is piled around the room until I have time to find a new home for it. After a few hours of rest (brain wouldn't let me sleep) I went to find Lina and Rachel as we were invited to the Hannah's for supper. We had a lovely supper (spicey taco soup and homemade bread with cream cheese!) and a nice chat afterwards. Now i'm completely exhausted and will be heading home to bed very shortly. Big day tomorrow with sorting out my classroom (although Janette was awesome enough to set it up for me) figuring out the classroom schedule and of course the teacher's meeting. Hopefully I'll get a lot accomplished!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On to the next leg of the journey...

This morning is sadly my last morning in Ireland. :( I'm currently sitting killing time (and Euros) at the airport kiosk. We got up early and jetted down to Dublin to be sure I made it in time for my flight only to find out (an hour after checking in bags and all) that my flight was cancelled. I went back to the desk and was told that the flight was cancelled due to bad weather, however he could place me on the next flight which will leave an hour later. I'm not sure where the "bad weather" is supposed to be, but here in Dublin the sun is actually shining and there are very few clouds to be seen in the sky. Of course as my bag had already gone through it caused a few problems as he had to make sure that my bag was transferred to the next flight as well. I have to say I won't be at all surprised to arrive and find my bag never made it, although I'll be rather upset if that does happen.
So my long wait in Heathrow is cut shorter, but it means a longer wait here in Dublin. I think Heathrow might be a bit better place to be stuck as it's larger, more to see etc. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to deal with it. Praying there are no problems with picking up my stored luggage in Heathrow and catching my connecting flight!
Next blog from Sakeji, Lord willing!