teaching, learning and living around the world
So much to write… here’s a brief summary of all the posts I’ve been meaning to write over the past month:
1. Unaweza! One Monday in early October, I came into school and the kids informed me that Beatrice’s sister died, so she went to Bukavu for the funeral. I explained that I was so sorry to hear that, and that I guess we just wouldn’t have school that day. The kids said, “No Sara, Unaweza!” (You can do it!) I didn’t have a plan that would last for four hours of school, so I explained that I could teach them the next day, after I had time to make a plan. They insisted… I resisted. I even pulled the ol’ “I don’t have a key to the classroom,” and they quite promptly dragged me to the office where they keep the key. There was no escaping it, I had to teach the whole morning, in Swahili, alone. I felt like this:
2. Niliweza! (I was able!) I spent the next three days teaching our crazy group of 3-13 year olds. We did addition, subtraction, reading, writing and we even made sympathy cards for Beatrice. When making the cards, I told the kids that when Beatrice returns, we want her to be furahi sana sana sana sana saaaaaannnnNA! (Verrrrrrrrrry happy) When Beatrice finally returned and we gave her the cards, she LITERALLY said, “Nina furahi sana sana sana sana saaaaaannnnNA!” We all laughed. We could tell she was still sad about her sister, but I think our cards at least helped her pretend to be very very very very very happy.
3. Ameriki After I gained some confidence in my ability to teach in Swahili, we agreed that I would teach the first hour of each morning, and Beatrice would do the rest. However, after only a week, our new routine was interrupted by my visit to the States. For the first time in four years I got to experience AUTUMN, Virginia’s finest season, and celebrate Halloween! Most exciting of all though was the wedding of my dear friends Beefy and Nick!
I also had the opportunity to speak at three different events. At UVA I talked with current student-teachers about my experiences and how to get a job teaching abroad. At the ADK Founder’s Luncheon I talked about my project and our tremendous need here for a virtual advisory board of sorts. That was especially awesome because I was talking to scores of women educators from all over Northern Virginia! Lastly, I presented a Congo 101 of sorts as well as a project update at my church, Commonwealth Baptist, the day before I shipped out to return to Goma.
4. SKIFF I first learned about the Salaam Kivu International Film Festival over a year ago and was so impressed by Yole Africa‘s mission, spirit, work, etc. What a positive life force, right smack in the middle of Goma. I was definitely disappointed that I was in the States during the festival, but I was lucky enough to catch some dance auditions right before I left. There was tons of breakdancing, and an entire category dedicated to commemorating the life and times of ol’ Michael Jackson. As the whole world already knows, it isn’t very often that Eastern Congo gets positive press… so it’s a pretty big deal that the festival was recently featured in The Economist!
5. Glad to be back. The kids gave me hugs as if I’d been gone for ages. I explained to the Mamas (in Swahili) that when I went to America I forgot all my Swahili. I told them I’d have to study extra hard now to catch back up. At the end of school today I showed pictures of Beefy’s wedding. Upon showing the inside of St. Patrick’s church, a girl yelled, “It’s a Catholic Church!!” I was totally impressed. Then we watched a video I made about all the things we love- learning, dancing, singing, eating, playing jump rope and majiwe, and each other of course. There were several kids in the video who have since returned to their villages, and when their faces appeared there were lots of fond Awwwwws.
I think that covers it all! Thanks to all of those who made my journey to the States so wonderful- it was great to see you.