Monday, December 17, 2012

holiday time

Since my newsletter school has now finished and there have been a few changes. I will have one student repeating grade 1 next year as we felt she just didn't have a strong enough foundation in the basics of reading and writing. Thankfully when i did parent-teacher interviews her mom was very supportive and understanding of our decision. I have 11 other students preparing to come in January for a total of 7 boys and 5 girls. Half of my students already have siblings here at Sakeji so hopefully that will help their transition into boarding school life. At least 2 of my students have little verbal English, although they seem to understand it. Please pray they'll pick it up quickly and not fall behind because of it. I'm very excited about meeting my new class, especially as I have some new curriculum i'd like to try on them. :) But i'm ready to relax and enjoy my holidays first! Lina and I only went as far as the Copperbelt this trip as we both needed some dental work, mine was pretty minor this time and was dealt with rather quickly. Poor Lina had complications this time which ended in an extraction. We got a bunch of shopping done both for ourselves and the school and enjoyed eating out almost as much as we enjoyed our host's Sri Lankan (sp?)cooking! We had only inteded to be "in town" for a few days but that stretched into a week. so we were quite happy when we finally got home again on Friday. The rest of the Holiday is going to be spent relaxing or prepping for the new term. Except for Christmas and New Years days where the remaining staff will get together to celebrate. Wishing everyone a very safe and Merry Christmas! and all the best in the New Year! God bless!

Part of my November Newsletter...

The rains have come once again and everything is green and growing. Even with a gardener helping I have a hard time keeping up with my own little garden! My students were very excited when they came at the beginning of term because they knew we’d be learning about plants in science this term. We planted bean and pea seeds and watched them grow a little before transferring them into our “bag garden”. Last week we finally saw the “fruit of our labour” as we were able to eat some peas and beans from the little garden. It’s funny how vegetables that you have grown yourself as so much more enjoyable then those served in the dining room! ******** Most of my class did much better than I had originally thought. There are still some who are really struggling with some subjects but they are all moving on to Grade 2! Praise the Lord, as I have a full class of coming in next year. We had between 19 and 21 students apply for the 12 available spaces for the coming year; 6 of which have priority as their siblings are already here. We are very thankful to see so many interested, but until we get more staff, we are unable to expand our class sizes. We continue to pray for new teachers daily. Especially as a number of staff are looking to go on furlough next year (myself included) which means we will be stretched pretty thin unless more teaching staff come. ******** Once again I want to say a great big “THANK YOU” to those involved with packing and sending boxes through ACCTS (MSC)! I received a bunch of them at the beginning of term (thankfully June was here to help unpack and sort them with me) and then a few more came ½ way through the term. It is such a blessing to be on the receiving end of such generosity! It was also very exciting to get a new fridge (a gift) as my old one wasn’t very reliable and occasionally “took a break” which wasn’t so great when I had a term’s worth of meat in the freezer! Thankfully I don’t need to worry about that any more. I have to say one of the most interesting experiences I had this term was a crazy shopping trip in Solwezi. On our half-term break Lina and I drove June down to Solwezi (5.5 hr. drive) so she could catch a plane to Lusaka. In order to keep folks here happy, we volunteered to do some shopping for anyone who needed anything before the term break as Solwezi is the nearest “civilized town” (meaning it has a grocery store). I don’t think I was quite expecting so many lists! Besides ourselves and the school, we had 9 other shopping lists. Can you imagine the looks we got as we pushed 3 very full carts (one full of bags of potatoes alone) around the store and then proceeding to ring through 10 separate orders? We determined not to let ourselves be daunted by the task and in the end I actually enjoyed myself a bit (except the no air conditioning in the sweltering heat part). There was only 2 items we weren’t able to get, (which for Solwezi was surprisingly good) and it took us 30 minutes just to check out but we managed! Our cashier deserves a medal! I won’t be home (in Canada) for Christmas this year which will be hard as my family is big into Christmas traditions and spending time together. But I will be able to join in on some of the traditions here with my Sakeji family. I hope you will all have a joyous Christmas season, remembering the birth of our Saviour and spreading His love to those around you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Catching up...

I know I have written and posted at least 2 posts since the last one posted... but I see blogger has decided to eat those... hmmm. I've had a pretty busy term, but mainly because June was living with me for 3 months. It's funny how having someone living in your house can take up your time, not in a bad way, just in a "where did all the time go" way. Sadly, June is now back in Canada and I seem to have tons of time on my hands! Actually this is probably a good thing as we only have 2.5 weeks left in the term and my "free time" will soon be used for report cards and such. This term I've had to make up a lot of curriculum for my students as well in the Science and Social Studies departments. For example, right now we're learning about Seasons. Our Science books are American so the seasons are completely different/backwards from here (for ex. Christmas here comes in the Summer time). So we're busy trying to make a "Zambian Seasons" book. Hopefully this will make it easier next year when I teach the same curriculum. This is always the hardest term for report cards as it determines whether or not the students continue on to the next grade. I have a few students this year who probably won't be passing... or if they do they'll be sqeaking by. We've been interviewing for next years students, so far I've interviewed @ least 6, Mark did one interview for me and I have 6 more at the end of term. We only have 12 spots available. so that makes it a little harder. We've already told some of the parents they'll have to try again next year. I'm SO glad I'm not the person in charge of doing that! I've been assisting again with the drama part of end of term show. This year it's got a Sherlock Holmes twist to it. Not to worry, no one gets killed! It's a little corny, but what's a kids play if not corny? The rainy season is in full swing now; so the flowers and gardens are in full bloom. Unfortunately so are my allergies! I'm praying I'll make it through the rest of the term without getting my end of term cold-thing!

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Crazy Cat!

This was written ages ago but I guess it was just stored as a draft... My Cat, Smudge-Orion, is too smart for her own good! She has learned to open doors (unfortunately not to close them again) and will often let herself out; even though she is supposed to be an indoor cat. So I've had to start locking the door to keep the cat in. She then learned that windows are an alternate route of escape. Her first few attempts didn't work so well for her (see picture below) however she finally figured out that there are 2 windows in the house that I am not able to lock (based on the way they open) and if she plays with the lever and pushes she is free. We even tried to wire the one window shut but that only deterred her for 2 days. :S I now have to lock the bathroom door, the front door and tie the kitchen window shut! this is getting nuts...
This is Smudge stuck between the screen and the window panes (they're slotted and closed behind her)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's raining, it's pouring... no one is snoring!

Well I'd say after the storm we had this morning, the rains have arrived! I think the rain started around 4:30am, but I didn't wake up fully until closer to 5am at which time I remembered my brand new fridge was still plugged in and there was some crazy lightening flashing around outside! As i unplugged the fridge I thought I'd check on June, which was a good idea as she was pretty scared. Not that I blame her the storm was right over top of us at that point, quite loud and she sleeps in the loft. We made a cup of tea as neither of us were able to sleep and (shockingly) the power was still on! I'm not sure how much rain came down but enough to water my garden for sure! It's going to be a loooong day though, thankfully it's my "easy" one. In other news, I've started going to the orphanage on Wednesday afternoons with June for a few hours to work with the Teenage "Mamas" (older orphans who are looking after their small siblings). There are currently 5 of them ranging in age from 11 - 15. they speak very little English and read/write little to none as 3/5ths of them have never been to school. June and I are trying to give them a few lessons in reading and writing; which they are very keen to do! We're also making them some skirts as the orphanage is very short in clothing supplies for their sizes. Must go, kids have arrived for class!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The term is off to a good start, things seem to be running fairly smoothly. We have 3 new (part-time)staff this term: Jessica Russel (the the UK), and Mylon and Melina Ollila. Jessica is shadowing Lina in the mornings and helping out with others the rest of the day. She will be taking over my Grade 1 Scripture class in a few weeks and helping me with reading groups. Mylon has mostly been helping with maintenance but I believe he is also helping with a few of the upper classes. Melina is helping me with Kozo for a few classes(just supporting him with staying ontract etc)and is working in the office as well. They are all doing a lot of after school activities as well. So far they seem to be fitting in fine. I have been enjoying having June around. She heads out to the orphanage each morning, comes home for a lunch break and then does a few hours in the afternoon back at the children's home. She has dragged me out (willingly i admit) to help her a few times with organizing container boxes and painting the new building. Although it's not exactly relaxing, i don't mind as it's at least "different" from the work here. Please pray for our students as we begin our final term of the year. My prayer is that they will all put forth their best effort and finish well, but more importantly that they will seek Christ in all they do.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Livingstone-Lusaka (pt 5)

Our taxi driver got the wrong time and arrived an hour early to take us to the bus. I was SO not impressed as I had only had a couple of hours sleep. We finally dragged ourselves up and got dressed and packed only to have him say he’d come back at the right time. TIA. We still managed to make it to the bus stop 15 minutes early. The ride back to Lusaka was not as nice as the one out (no business class) but I was really too tired to care. Lina met us at the bus station and took us out to Mugg n Bean for a very late (but much needed) lunch. That afternoon we all had a nap as we were all pretty exhausted. The next morning we began our ‘shopping spree’. As the container boxes hadn’t arrived yet my pantry was pretty bare and with June coming I needed to get some groceries. We spent the rest of our time in Lusaka getting groceries and other necessities. On our way back to Sakeji we again overnighted in Kitwe. Unfortunately I had another dentist appointment to keep as the fillings the last dentist put in didn’t work. I found a new dentist and spent more money having the same tooth filled again. I’d like to say this will be the last time; unfortunately I have to go back at Christmas to get a cap put on. Merry Christmas to me. :( The rest of the trip back to Sakeji was pretty uneventful; just really uncomfortable as the 3 of us were squished in the front the whole was as we had to carry back 4- 50kg backs of chicken food and a photocopier for the school as well as all our stuff. We did have a scary moment between Kitwe and Solwezi when we realized that we had forgotten to fill up with gas and basically rode into solwezi on fumes and prayers! Praise the Lord we made it home safe and sound. I think I’ll stay put for a little while now… at least until next holidays. :)

Livingstone – Day 2 (pt 4)

We had to get up extra early as we had an early pick up for our Horseback Safari. I was a little leery about going as I’m not exactly an avid horse lover or rider. For reasons unknown to myself, despite my telling them I was not an experienced rider, they put me on one of the younger horses, named Contemptuous. This horse obviously was named well as he took a disliking to me riding him and started acting up about twenty minutes into the ride. By that time I was pretty much ready to pack in the ride as well, those saddles were NOT built for comfort! The hotel that owned the stables also has some giraffe and zebra which we got to photograph (or as much as you can when riding a horse). As my horse was getting beyond my control, I traded with one of the guides’ for a horse who was more interested in eating then in going anywhere, but he was a little more my speed. We then proceeded to enter the Mosi-au-Tunya Game Park where we rode for the next 3 and ½ hours. We had been told that we might spot elephants, a multitude of deer-type animals, buffalo and perhaps even a rhino… we saw nothing. Nothing but trees and dead grass and the horses we were riding. I was really not impressed… and neither was my backside and my knees! By the time we got back to the stables after our 4 hr ride I was barely able to stand! Thankfully I didn’t have to as they had a nice lunch (cold meats and veggies) prepared for us in a cute little garden. The other 3 girls that had been riding with us were Swiss and we all got to know each other a bit. They had tons of questions when they found out I was out here essentially as a volunteer for several years. Instead of being dropped off back at our lodge (which would have been a better idea as we were so tired and dehydrated) we got dropped off at the Falls. We started down the path to the Boiling Pot, but after 10-15 minutes of descent we realized that it was a LONG way down and we were WAAAY too tired to climb up again afterwards, so we (very slowly) made our way back up and found a path closer to the falls to follow. I have to admit I was a little disappointed by the falls as there was barely any water in some parts, but then it is the end of the dry season. After many photo ops we dragged ourselves through the craft market (way more expensive there then in Lusaka) and headed ‘home’ for much needed showers. The night we dressed up a bit and went out for supper. We were both so tired and probably on our way to suffering from heat-stroke that we didn’t really enjoy our meal all that much. As we had an early morning and another one the next day we decided to turn in early. Unfortunately some young guys decided to keep the neighbourhood up with their drunken antics in the middle of the night so we didn’t get any sleep.

Livingstone – Day 1 (pt 3)

Wednesday morning we had a “full English breakfast” (Zambian style) before out 9:30 pick up. We were driven out to Mukuni Big 5 Safaris for our Lion Encounter. I have to say this was my favourite part of the whole trip! After a brief orientation ( basically telling us how to safely approach the lions) we were given walking sticks and were taken to meet the 2 lions we’d be walking with: Luba (one of 4 white lions in Zambia) and Nellie. Both lions were just under 2 years old. We got to “meet” the lions, petting them and letting them hear our voices. Then we started our walk, with a few interruptions for photo ops. We even got to hold their tails while they were walking! After that little adventure we went out for a nice Italian lunch, with homemade pasta and everything! Very yummy, but VERY filling so we went for a little walk about town before heading back to our room to freshen up. Our ride to the Sunset cruise arrived around 3:30pm to pick us up. When we arrived at the boat I unfortunately lost the batteries for my camera when they fell into the water. As it turned out I didn’t really need my camera as we only saw one impala and a few hippos, although the sunset was really pretty.

Lusaka – Livingstone (pt 2)

Tuesday morning the 3 of us squeezed into the front of the two-seater pick up, not the most comfortable but it was a short trip to the bus station. I was a little unsure of the bus trip for two reasons, 1) June gets car sick and 2) my last bus trip in Lusaka left much to be desired. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that a “business class” bus is much nicer. They even served us a snack and pop and we each had a small tv in the back of the seat ahead of us; of course there was nothing much to watch. Thankfully June was fine and the 6 hr. trip went pretty quickly. When we arrived in Livingstone we were able to quickly find a taxi to take us to our lodge. The Stone Guest House, though not as posh as advertised, was quite nice and comfortable. After settling in we had a taxi come pick us up to take us to supper. The driver was quite helpful and even took us to the craft market and grocery store before we went out for out lovely meal. After supper our cabby took us back to the lodge where we had a good night stay.

Sakeji-Lusaka (pt 1)

Lina and I leisurely drove down to Lusaka with a quick overnight in Kitwe. We stopped a few times for pictures, food and ice cream and diesel . On Monday the 20th we picked up a very tired June at the airport and then went to the RTSA (road traffic) place to see if I could get my licence. It was not to be… the lady didn’t like my medical paper, first saying it was not acceptable because it was done at a private clinic (Kalene Hospital) and then because it was too old (4 mths instead of 2). I have now come to the conclusion that I am not meant to get my Zambian licence! The rest of the day we spent “shopping” and sorting out June’s suitcases. That evening June and I packed out backpacks for our bus trip to Livingstone. We ended the day with a nice restaurant supper.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

quick update

i know it's been over a month since i blogged last. i did actually type blogs when I was travelling but i wasn't able to post them. now that i'm back with (semi) reliable internet i will cut and paste them into a mini-series of blogs starting tomorrow.

Monday, July 30, 2012

holiday time

My end of term cold hit me with a vengence but once I was able to sleep-in and relax I was able to get over the worst of it. Hurray! Unfortunately poor Lina seems to have her end of term bronchitis which has messed up her term break plans. Not just because being sick on your holidays is horrible, but also because she was unable to drive down to Lusaka as planned. However, the Lord is still in control, Hannah (who had planned to get a ride with Lina) was able to get a ride with the Sr. Towses to Chingola and then with the Studds to Lusaka so that she could meet her father and brothers at the airport. The vehicle that Lina was going to be driving is sorta not working right as the battery is pretty dead. Today we pushed started it and were able to get to Ikelenge and back, but the whole time I was worried that if I turned it off I wouldn't be able to get it started again. So it's a good thing the girls didn't try to take it down! I will (Lord willing) be heading down to Lusaka in Jill Avery's truck (she and Bethany are in Europe on holiday)and Lina is able to get a ride with me. Unfortunately it's only a 2 seater, so on the way home, after I've picked up June, one of us will have to ride in the back. Not ideal, but we'll make it work. TIA! A praise item to note, I was able to have a few good interviews with parents/guardians of some of my students that have been struggling a bit. It was refreshing to see that they want to help out any way they can and are backing me up. You never quite know how parents are going to react when they see poor report cards and some of them will blame the teacher (as happened to Lina :( ) so I am thankful that mine went so well. Now I have to wait till September to see if it was just talk or if they actually did work with their children. Unless something major/exciting happens. I probably won't blog again until I get to Lusaka. Please pray for safe travels!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

And suddenly it's the end of term...

Yes, the end of term draweth near! This time next week the station will be eerily quiet and all the staff will be rejoicing in their own particular way. It has been a very busy term, cramming so many things into 10 short weeks, but we seemed to have made it through. We've had LOTS of visitors and to quote an old saying "all our visitors bring us joy. some buy coming. others by going." (I won't go into details on who falls into which category) Despite all the cramming and such I also feel it was quite a productive term. My students have really come a long way and (although I need the break) I am looking forward to how much we can accomplish next term. I am especially thankful at this time of the term to only have 10 students as that meant I only had 10 report cards to do! Teaching grade one is definatley challenging but one of the perks is that they don't have to take exams... which means I don't have to mark exams... and was therefor able to get all my reports finished by Tuesday night! I do feel kind of bad though as the rest of the teachers are still slaving away on theirs. One challenge I've had this term is trying to find out how I can better help my students who are struggling with their learning. one boy (who i think i mentioned in previous blogs) appears to have dyslexic symptoms. Zambia is not equipt to deal with things like this so his parents are unable to get him tested. I've done a few quick "online" tests but unless I want to drop a few hundred bucks, i can't get any real evaluating done. My mission for the holidays is to arm myself with as much info and resources as I can get my hands on (which is limited to the internet) to try and prepare for how to better help him next term. Please pray! I would also GREATLY appreciate any info anyone can share of helpful techniques either from teaching or personal experiences.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wow, silence for the first time in 3 hours! It's almost a scary sound. Over our half term break 17 of our senior students and 3 staff members went to Amano Christian School (and 3 other schools) to compete in netball (Girls) and soccer (boys). Today 20 Amano students and 4 or so staff members have arrived here. Our students have been anticipating it all day and the excitment has been building since assembly. Even my students, who won't have anything to do with the competitions, were bouncing outta their seats (literaly) today. This was my afternoon off and generally when I'm down at my house I can't hear the students too much. However, I knew exactly when the Amano bus rolled in as the noise level tripled! Starting tomorrrow they will be competing in various sporting events against our students; mostly track and field stuff but I believe their will also be soccer and netball (it'll be switched tho boys playing netball and girls soccer). Our boys might actually win this time. The girls (who were undefeated in netball - except when they played the under 19 team) may taste a bit of what it feels like to lose. I've been trying to help Phil Towse with coaching them.... but they have so many bad habits I spent most of my time trying to undo the habits and reteach the correct way! It should be an interesting weekend. Even though it is my weekend off I have offered to help in the kitchen as our cook is now in Canada and Pam Ronald is subbing for her. Pam is also runs the nursing clinic and is one of the dorm parents for the boys so she's quite busy! I figured with the extra bodies on station she might need a break or two, plus 2 of her 3 kids will be competing so it might be nice for her to get to watch them. On Tuesday the whole school participates in Sports Day (track and field). I think by then our seniors will be wiped out! They might even be grateful to get back to regular classes on Wednesday.... well maybe not. :) I know it's early but I probably won't post again before so..."Happy Canada Day" to all my Canadian friends! and "Happy Independence Day" to my American ones. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Falling behind yet again...

Monday and Tuesday of this week were our half term holiday. The students all think the break is for them... ya right! My duties for the last 2 days was afternoon swim. I took my lawnchair down to the pool and worked on my tan. :) ya, life is rough. Actually it was rather rough this morning getting up and back into the school routine. Apparenty the kids thought so too as they all seemed to have left their brains in the dorm this morning. I can't complain too much though, they were all too tired to act up! One quick prayer request. I can't remember if I've mentioned it before but I'm fairly certain one of my students suffers with dyslexia. I've been trying to find creative ways to help him understand and learn the material but I feel like I'm failing him. Please pray that God will give me the wisdom I need to help this little boy get a good start on schooling, so he doesn't end up falling through the cracks.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Good and the Sad

The past weekend was a rather interesting one. It was my weekend off, so after lunch on Saturday I was free to do as I pleased until breakfast on Monday. I have begun working with a group of kids in a village called Kazomba (I think that's what it's called) which is not too far from Kalene Hospital. The parents of the children I'm working with are very good friends with my parents. Hannah Garcia joins me on our Saturdays off and we go out to the village and work on English/ reading and math skills specifically with the two youngest as we would like to be able to get them enrolled at Sakeji next year. However the older 3 are always hanging about as well and enjoy taking part. This week when we arrived it was obvious word had gotten around that we were coming because there was a lot of cheerful youngsters chasing the truck down the lane. They all joined in our "class" which ended up being somewhere around 15 children ages 2 -15+. It's kind of like teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. only this was a very small livingroom. I think next time we'll have to sit outside under the trees! It's a lot more of a relaxed atmostphere then my school classroom and the children come and go as they please. After a few hours there we packed up and headed to Kalene hospital as there was a special "Jubilee Tea" planned in honour of the Queen of England's diamond Jubilee. The hosts had gone out of their way to make it a fun and special evening. Of course when we arrived we were served tea and shown to the buffet table which was full of scrumptious "British" fare such as cucumber sandwiches, triffle and little cupcakes with the Union Jack on them. We were divided into teams based on the Common Wealth country we came from. Hannah felt a little out of place, being American. We had missed the physical games (such as tug-of-war) but were there in time for the 'mental' games. Of course in the end England won (it would have been a shame if they hadn't as most of the questions were about their country!). Sadly Canada came in third, but then, we're used to not winning at Olympic events, so we took it quite well. :) Just as we were preparing to leave a phone call came in with some very disturbing news. A missionary plane was seen floating upside down in the Zambezi River! After much telephoning between mission stations and prayer we got most of the story. A new young missionary pilot, stationed at Chitokoloki Mission Hospital had crashed into the river. This really shook us all up. We didn't get all the details until yesterday evening. I won't write them all now, but if you look on the Chit website there is an update on Jay and Katrina Erickson. Please pray for their family at this time of loss. Although it is a great tragedy for us left behind, they are rejoicing with their Lord and Saviour in heaven and for that we give the glory and praise to God. It was a great reminder to us all that life is short and can be over in the blink of an eye. We need get right with God and make each and every day count for His glory and honour!

Monday, May 28, 2012

I don't have much time to blog, but haven't written in ages so here goes... Highlights: 1) last week one of the new grade 3 girls (Hannah) gave her life to Christ. She had been very shy and quiet since coming, barely speaks above a whisper. Last Tuesday she approached the dorm Mom and said she wanted to ask Jesus to forgive her sins. Since then I've noticed a new happyiness and peace in her life. Very exciting to see. Please pray for her as she grows in the Lord, that her faith with strengthen daily. 2) I'm down to 10 grade ones, but this is good because one of my grade ones is now a grade 2. He is a super smart little boy and could probably do the grade 3 with without too much trouble! He reads at a grade 4 level! It's been a challenge to keep him from getting too bored in class as he always finished his work waaay before the others. Praise the Lord, he is settling into grade 2 quite nicely, I just pray the grade 2 boys don't corrupt him with their bad behaviour because right now he's a good kid. 3) My church extended my commendation another 2 years which was a real answer to prayer for me! So I will be out here (Lord willing) until at least 2014. I had planned to come home for a visit during the summer but have decided to put that off for a little while. Perhaps next summer. well, that's about all I have time for right now. Need to finish marking and planning for the week!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

it's amazing how much noise 60 excited children generate!

yep! the students are (mostly) back once again and so starts another term. my classroom is about 98% ready and i'm about 89% ready but that's ok. i don't really have time to write as i'm supposed to be heading up to watch "Popeye" with the kids on our new flat screen tv. i think i'm more excited then the kids about the tv! the old one we so bad that we couldn't see have the movies as it was just too dark. we now also have "surround sound" (sort of) so it should be a pretty cool experience. :) this term is our shortest one - 10 weeks long but is also one of the most busy/crazy as there is SO much packed into it! not only is there another sport's tour for the seniors, we have another school coming up here for a sports tour. of course we have the usual birthday party (this term "nautical" theme) and Sports Day. so we'll all be very in shape this term... well, the kids should be anyhow. gotta run, gonna be late for the 'good seats'!

Monday, May 7, 2012

back in the swing of things

Our trip to Lusaka was a success in that we got done what needed to be done and even had time for some fun stuff. :) unfortunately the bus ride back to Kitwe was worse then our trip down which was not a fun way to end it! we did manage to get all our dental work done without losing any teeth! :) have several fillings though and apparently I'm not supposed to eat pineapple anymore. :( i was afraid she'd tell me i could no longer have tea as well but she said that tea actually has floride in it so in a way it's good for my teeth! who knew?! :D just before we left Kitwe we went to the animal shelter and Lina picked up a new puppy to replace her dog Ceili who had to be put down as she was suffering (horribly) from a snake bite. The new puppy is veryy cute but has a bad habit of pooping where she shouldn't... like on my luggage on the way home. needless to say i was NOT impressed. good thing she's cute! we had no major problems on the trip home, it just seemed longer than usual. thankfully we just missed the rioting in Mwinilunga - something to do with stolen petrol? now, after a few days of catching up on my sleep. I'm back in my classroom getting ready for the beginning of next term. the kids arrive a week tomorrow! i'm excited to see them again, but not ready for my holidays to end. oh well. such is life.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

i forgot how much i hate taking the bus!

So here I am back in Lusaka. why you might ask? good question! Lina and I drove down to Kitwe on Sunday as we had more dental appointments on Monday. The drive down was rather uneventful (thankfully) and we have been staying with the Fernando's (friend's of Lina's family) they are a very nice Sri Lankan (sp?) family who have been living and working in Zambia for several years. We've both been enjoying the awesome food! Our appointments went fairly well on Monday. Lina was able to both keep her tooth and not get a root canal which was good. I had some very painful fillings put in and after a few hours we were done and went out to celebrate with some lattes.
Today we were driven to the bus stop to catch a bus from Kitwe to Lusaka (cheaper then driving) a 5-6 hrs trip. After waiting for nearly an hour we were off. What we weren't ready for was the rediculously little room! I have short legs and my knees were mashed into the seat infront of me. Poor Lina, who has LONG legs, was hanging out into the isle. It made for a VERY LONG trip. of course as there was only one stop and we weren't sure about the "facilities" available we decided to go the dehydration route instead. so by the time we reached Lusaka we were hungry, parched and very cramped yet somehow we survived. we quickly made our way (or as quickly as our poor knees would travel) to the new mall a few blocks away for some refreshments and relief. after reviving our poor bodies we found a cab to take us to Arcades Mall so we could watch "The Hunger Games". (Lina looked up movie times when we were in Kitwe). It was a nice relaxing way to end our evening.

Tomorrow Lina is going to get the final paperwork done for her liscence (fingers crossed!) which is the reason we came down. And i'm heading to the malls for some 'me shopping' time. :) I know i complained about the shopping trip last time, but this is shopping for pleasure, not groceries. so much better and less stressfull!
then we're back on the bus (not looking forward to that) and back to Kitwe.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

a time to relax

so things did not go as we had planned... but we had sort of figured that would happen. Lina wasn't able to get her pass certificate ("come back next week") but i did get my new kitten (she's camera shy but i'm working on getting a good picture) who has been named Smudge-Orion (don't ask). she's pretty good, overly lovey/affectionate which can get annoying, but she's learning. the one thing i find the most annoying is that she loves to climb... me! my legs are covered in scratches, not to mention my head which is her favourite perch. still working on that one!

since coming back i've been enjoying just sleeping in and relaxing. cooking for myself, watching movies etc. eventually i'll get around to planning for next term and stuff. right now i'm just taking it easy.

oh, i almost forgot to mention that we have a new arrival here at sakeji. the towses (my next door neighbours) had a baby boy while we were away. his name is Levi Steven (not sure if it's 'ph' or 'v') Towse.

anywho, think that's all for now. will try and get some pics up soon.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

plan b, no c... ok lets try f!

so the buying part of our trip went well. The visa part was no problem at all. However, the liscences have given us trouble yet again! i gave up in Solwezi when the guy told me that to convert my liscence I needed to hand over my Canadian liscene to him (YA RIGHT!), so after giving him a piece of my mind (and embarrasing Lina) i stormed out and decided i'd had enough of Zambian burocracy! Lina on the other hand is a little more of a go-getter then me and decided to try again (without me around ;) ) in Lusaka. she went in and stood in the many lines and worked her way through the whole rigamarole. she even made them book her driving test for the next day. So yesterday the plan was that she would get up early, take her driving test while Hannah and I packed everything up and prepared to head home. we'd then pick up the new kitten i have adopted and head back up north. of course this is Africa (T.I.A) and nothing goes according to plan. Lina was told (after a bogus test) that she had passed but needed to come back either Thursday or Friday to pick up her pass certificate. after much pleading etc she wasn't able to get them to budge. Unfortunatley we both had dental appointments booked for this morning in Kitwe (about 6 hrs drive away). after much phoning around and stressful decisions, it was decided that we head to Kitwe yesterday. get up early, do the dentist thing and then head back to Lusaka to complete business. things still didn't work well. it took us awhile to get everything in the truck as (of course) we'd bought 'too much'. we had to stop and purchase a tarp and rope to put stuff on the top rack of the car. we had a somewhat hilarious incident shortly after leaving Lusaka where i noticed a package of TP fly off our car and bounce down the road. of course this happened at a time when the road was divided and we couldn't turn around! by the time we got stopped the toilet paper had been scooped up by some keen entrepaneur (sp?) who will no doubt be selling it on the street later. anywho, amid much laughter we stopped the car and re-did the tarp. because we had taken so long getting away, by the time we got to Ndola it was pretty dark, except of course, for the high-beams of everyone's vehicles driving at me! we got a little misplaced on the round abouts and went round about a few times before we figured out where to go. of course it would be much easier if there were actually signs and street names, but hey, what do i know.
we were rather tired when we pulled in last night. after much advice about how to deal with "our situation" we went to bed.
this morning Lina and i got up bright an early and had to unpack the roof of the car as we didn't want anything stolen while we were getting our teeth worked on. this ended up taking longer then expected so we went without breakfast.
I'm not really a fan of dentists but this one wasn't too bad. actually she was pretty nice as she showed me exactly what she was doing and stuff. i went to have one tooth pulled and one filling filled and left with no teeth pulled and 3 fillings. she added up all the costs and showed me the bill 610. I asked "is that in dollars?" and she said, "oh goodness, no! that's kwatcha, K610,000" (which is about $130!) i couldn't believe how cheap it was!
after lunch we headed back out onto the highway towards Lusaka. thankfully nothing 'eventful' happened on the way down. we're praying tomorrow is pretty uneventful as well! if all goes according to the new (many times reviewed) plan we should arrive back home at sakeji on saturday afternoon.

Monday, April 9, 2012

on the move

Well the term has ended and once again I'm in the big city on a buying and immigration trip. the drive down was a little rough as i had some stomach issues followed quickly by my usual end of term cold. there were 5 of us in the truck (Lina, Hannah, my dad, a guy named Ryan and myself) but only 2 of us are really allowed to drive the school vehicle so the others just had to deal with our driving. i almost had trouble at one police stop but managed to sneak through without too much hassel. thankfully the roads weren't that bad and we didn't get stuck at all.

we've spent the past 2 days comparing prices in various stores and then today spent a huge amount of money on groceries for the next year. i have to say it's not easy predicting what you'll need 6+ mths in advance! between the 3 of us girls (the men have both left now) we managed to pack out the car. it should be interesting trying to fit everything in! thankfully we remembered to bring some cardboard boxes with us this time so that will make the packing a little easier!

tomorow we had to immigration bright and early so hannah and i can get our work visas and lina will be heading to road traffic to try and get her driver's liscence. i won't be trying this time as i don't have all the nescessary documents (or patience to deal with annoying gov't people). i'm sure lina is relieved i'm not coming this time as when we stopped in solwezi i completely lost it with the guy who was on a total power trip and said some things i should probably regret. i will consider getting my liscence later when the new gov't gets its act together.

well, i'm off to bed. hope everyone had a great easter remembering the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He lives! :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

sorry for the long delay

My mom informed me that I am a month over due on updating my blog. Appoligies. So much has been going on, including the usual bad weather that keeps the internet down, and all my other excuses.

So what has been going on? While apart from the day-to-day busy life of being a first grade teacher. I also have my Dad here visiting/working. It's been great to have him here, (although admittedly it was a bit weird at first) and we've definatly settled into a routine. Dad came to help the Canadian team on re-building the dorm roof. It has been an interesting 'ride' for them. The old roof (which they mainly left in place and built the new roof over) was in such bad shape that several of the men have nearly fallen through it several times! Many of them have scrapes, cuts and bruises to show for it. The worst injury so far happened to my dad last week. He had been working up on a ladder when it decided to break, sending him falling 8 or so feet down to the very hard concrete & stone landing. Thankfully his instincts (and God's grace!) kicked in and he remembered to roll as he fell. From what I understand he took the brunt of the impact on his right shoulder & wrist (spraining his wrist) and then spread out the rest of the pain all over his body including bruised ribs etc. The other men were very concerned that he would have internal bleeding, but praise the Lord, there was nothing that serious! It has taken him the better part of the week to heal and is still unable to fully use his right arm. On top of this his arthritis has been pretty bad so it's really slowed him down. Not to worry there are several women on station (including myself) who have been harrasing him daily to see how he's doing and ensure he's taking his medicine. :)
The Canadian team is leaving tomorrow with the exception of a few guys (my dad included) who are sticking around for another week or so. The whole back of the dorm (sorry don't know how big that is) is now complete, which was the biggest part of the job as they had to rebuild it. From what I understand, the front part is more structuraly sound and so they are mainly just replacing the steel sheets. Please continue to pray for their safety, especially as we are now entering the end of the rainy season which can bring some pretty fiercesome storms!

On the classroom side of things I have been continuing to struggle along bringing my kids up to 'snuff'. As I write the report cards (today and this week) it is somewhat encouraging to see how far some of them have come already. Although it is also discouraging to see that some are still really struggling with the basics. One little boy will not be coming back next term as it has been decided (by all the staff) that he is simply not mature enough. We have had trouble with him both in the classroom and dorm with wetting/messing in his pants and bed. among other things. Please pray for him and his family as they hear and process this news.

It's hard to think of what else has been keeping me so busy! Well, maybe I'll remember more later. Right now I need to finish up some report cards!

Monday, February 27, 2012

weekend exciment!

Some pretty exciting things have happened this past weekend.

1) Saturday morning I discovered most of my kids can spell simple words! Ok, this may not be exciting to you, but to me it means that they have actually learned something and the past 6 weeks have not been for nothing. :) of course this excitment was soon over-ruled by the fact that a few hours later...
2) my dad arrived! i couldn't concentrate at all during home ec time (good thing we weren't cooking this week!)poor kids, i even dragged them up to the airstrip with me to meet the plane. most of my students have been waiting excitedly for my dad to come as well, but not that he's here they're all rather shy. i guess he's a little intimidating? The men in the kitchen were quite excited to see my father as well as it's been a long time since they saw him last. I'm sure today he will be meeting some of the maintenance guys who he used to work with and will be working with again over the next 5-6 weeks.
3) the third exciting thing kind of ties in with the 2nd as my dad brought a bunch of goodies with him in his many suitcases. (praise the Lord he didn't have much trouble despite traveling with 4 bags!) thank you to everyone who chipped in to send some of the stuff out. I have to say i didn't really get excited about the tools, but i'm sure they will be put to good use here. the chips and chocolate bars, however, were very welcome! :) the best treat sent tho' was the oatmeal choc chip cookies made by my mom and nephews... talk about a little taste of home... mmmm!:D

well, the weekend is over and we're back to the daily grind. i'm hoping my amazingly brilliant students of saturday are still around and still remember... it's always a little frustrating when you think they've mastered something only to find out it was a fluke.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

From ABC's to Reading Week

Nothing really 'new' to report, back to the day to day 'grind'. If anyone has any brilliant ideas on how to help students better learn letter and number recognition; i'm all ears! i have a few students who are still really struggling with this. The biggest problem I have to overcome this year is undoing the stuff they were taught wrong and re-teaching it the correct way. It's quite frustrating for all involved as they feel they have already learned this and want to move on; where as I'd also love to move on, I can't until they have actually learned it properly. That being said, its quite exciting watching those who have learned their alphabet, but it together and form words. Right now at school we are having a reading competition (Reading Week) to encourage the kids who aren't so keen on reading to really dive in. Of course this means the kids that already appreaciate reading are constantly lost in books. Its very common these days to see students wandering around with their head in a book, completely oblivious to their surroundings. As the grade ones can't yet read, they are to get others to read to them. I'm glad to see the older students helping out in this way too. it's quite cute to see 3 or 4 grade ones packed in around a 5th or 6th grader listening intently to a book. Maybe this will encourage them to start reading too!

Monday, February 6, 2012

quick update on work permit

The Lord has shown His awesomeness once again! Last time I wrote I was planning to drive down to Lusaka to take care of my work permit however, the Lord worked it out so I didn't have to go in person. I was able to send my paperwork down on a plane and now I'm just praying it will be all taken care of on Wednesday! So that Thursday I am able to take the receipt in to our local Immigration officer and get a temperary extension until all the paperwork is processed. Your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Unplanned Roadtrip

Well as usual the days had all sort of blurred together for the past few weeks until Thursday I found myself looking at the calender and realizing I had exactly 7 days to get my new work permit or I'd be illegally in the country! You may ask why I waited so long, well, I have been working at getting all the paperwork together but with teaching and living in a 3rd world country it is not always quick and easy to do! On top of that, when I left the country in December, the plan was to leave my paperwork in Lusaka for it to get renewed... quick and easy. Unfortunatly the new goverment decided to screw up my plans. I am now not able to renew but need an entirely new one, which means I needed a new form, pictures etc. It's also not as easy to get someone who can certify documents here, especially when the Immigrations officer is never in his office. Anywho, he was tracked down today and said that he is not able to issue a 'report order' (sort of like a temp ext.) unless I have a receipt, which of course I don't. This means that I have to get my paperwork to Lusaka and in the system by Thursday... yikes! So tomorrow after lunch I'll be making my way south. We're hoping that I'll be able to leave my stuff in Chingola (1/2 way) with the man who usually takes care of this stuff for us. However, if he's not planning on going to Lusaka next week, then I'll be heading all the way down. Not a drive I really want to make in the rainy season... but one that seems nescessary.

On a possitive note, some of my students are slowing starting to get a hang of the whole 'reading' idea which is very encouraging. Others are a bit slower but we made some good progress today. We discovered that the one girl who has been having a lot of trouble learns songs rather quickly. So Hannah has been making up songs with actions and such to help her remember her letters and numbers. I'm hoping this will be a big breakthrough.

Well, must get back to figuring out the plans for the next few days.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Well I've made it to the first weekend and lucky for me I get the weekend off! It has been an interesting week. Not stressful, but definately exhausting! One thing I didn't think of before is how much the grade 1's watch the grade 2's and 'model' their behaviour. So with no grade 2's in my classroom this year it's just me telling the kids over and over how they should behave. I think some of the rules are beginning to sink in; we'll see if they have forgotten them all on Monday or not. My biggest challenge is keeping their attention. They seem to have extremely short attention spans and are VERY easily distracted! We're trying a more 'hands on' approach to teaching this year (more manipulatives and centers and less book work) which I think will be very good for this particular class especially as the majority is boys. Of course this also means I need to be on top of my planning and organizing. I'm working on that...
Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 begins

Well I made it back to Sakeji. I have decided I am never again going to do the back to back flights if I can help it! I managed to survive the 7 or so hour layover in LHR airport through drinking large amounts of caffeine, shopping and an amazing masage. The flight to Lusaka was far too long having had no sleep the previous night and of course being hopped up on caffeine. I did however, manage to snooze on the 3 hr flight to Sakeji.

Since arriving back we've had 2 staff meetings (one was just for the teaching staff), and I've had to re-arrange and set up my classroom. I have yet to look at the curriculm, other then labeling all the kids books of course.

I currently have 11 new students coming which I'm pretty excited about. This year we have separated the 2 classes, so now I just teach Grade 1 (for the most part). I will tag-team-teaching Science/Social Studies with the Grade 2 & 3 teachers as we're combining all 3 grades for those classes.

We have 3 new staff this term. Sarah Peat and Sam Morphat are just part time and Hannah Garcia is part time with the possibility of becoming full time. They seems like great people and are pretty excited to meet the kids and start teaching. Hannah will be working down in Lower school with Mark Ronald and myself (Grades 1-3). Sarah and Sam will be working in Upper school (grades 4-9) with Janette Young, Lina Burklin and Phil Towse.

It looks to be a pretty promising year. I can't wait to get started... except the planning and marking of course. :) Please pray for the students and their families as they arrive over the next two days by car and plane. Being the rainy season the roads are starting to get pretty mucky again.

One other item for prayer before I sign off and go to bed is for my work visa which expires at the beginning of February. Originally I was planning to just renew it for another 2 years. With the new government in place however, things are getting more complicated. Right now it looks like it would be $100 cheaper to get a new Visa than to renew. Of course either way, the price has nearly doubled! Please pray that things will work out smoothly without too many issues. This does not just apply for myself, their are several missionaries here in Zambia in the same situation.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What thrills your soul?

As we were singing the hymn "All That Thrills My Soul" this morning in church I started to think about what I was singing... "All that thrills my soul is Jesus; He is more that life to me; and the fairest of ten thousand, in my blessed Lord I see". Can I sing that and honestly mean it? Thought provoking isn't it. The one verse that caught my attention was "Every need His hand supplying, every good in Him I see; on His strength divine relying, He is all in all to me." Something I have learned in the past few years is that God does supply all my needs and I do rely on His strength to get me through each day, particulariy the difficult ones. It disturbs me to say I don't think I can honestly say "He is all in all to me". I have spent the past month enjoying time with my family and shopping for things to take back with me next year. During the past month how much time have I spent thinking about God and thanking Him for my wonderful family and the means to buy the things I need/want. Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas, the reason I am who I am and the reason I am at Sakeji School. This year (and I hope eternally)I am going to strive to live my life so that I can sing/say "All that thrills my soul is Jesus" and mean it with all my heart!