Wednesday, June 17, 2009

She Made It

Beerina made it through the day without a broken ankle for the first time in 3 years. As many of you may know, Beerina, the oldest girl here, fell off a horse and severely hurt her ankle just a couple days before I arrived 2 summers ago. The local x-rays were basically worthless, so several days after I arrived we were headed to Windhoek, the capital (13 hours away), to get proper ones and to have it casted. But the pain and swelling only worsened over the next month and we were forced to cut the cast off with pruners (you make do with what you have when the only doctor on call is off fishing, haha). We then took her back to Windhoek for another opinion, which led to determining that she had a parasympathetic nerve problem in addition to the hurt ankle. This is very similar to phantom pain, where her brain was perceiving severe pain even though there wasn’t a physical ailment to necessarily warrant it. Once on proper meds for that, things were much better and she was soon back to walking. BUT last summer, on the same day, she fell off a horse again and hurt her ankle again pretty badly. But at least this time the healing process was not as long. Gary, the father here, jokingly told her she was not allowed out of her room this year on June 17th. Well, today has come and gone and though she was allowed out of her room she did not ride a horse and both her ankles are intact, haha.

Pictured above is Beerina and I having a crutch race 2 years ago on some baby crutches I found.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Most High

A pile of magazines ended up in my classroom this week and among them was a South African Christian magazine with an article that caught my eye. The article was entitled “There Is No High Like the Most High” and began with, “When people in the world indulge in drugs and alcohol to get high, they don’t know it, but they are searching for something God has made available to His people. Why do you think He is called the Most High?” It made me laugh out loud as I had never thought of it quite that way before. But then I began actually thinking seriously about it and was reminded of all the answered prayers I’d been seeing lately…with the kids, with various problems that arise, and personal prayers as well, no matter how large or small. God is truly here in this place and it is absolutely amazing how intricately He is involved in even the smallest parts of His people’s lives. All this to say, I am feeling very “high” here thanks to my Most High and I love it! ;-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Baby's Day Out

Josiah is the youngest child here at just over a year old and has gotten sooo big since we first got him here at a mere one week old and only 5 pounds. He receives tons of love and attention from his 59 older brothers and sisters and started walking just before I arrived in May. He doesn’t talk a whole lot other than a few sounds for things (such as a ‘Ba’ sound when they tried to teach him to say Becca, haha). He is very enticed by food…last weekend I watched one of the boys get him across the room to one of the girls that wanted to hold him by hanging a chip in front of him like a carrot to Bugs Bunny, haha. And if asked what time it is, he will promptly direct you to figure it out yourself by turning around and pointing to the clock.
But anyway, I took him down to the barn for the first time today for chores to see the animals and such. He seemed to like the kittens…he let them know by trying to squeeze its whole head into his tiny little hand. Luckily the kittens are used to lots of little kids handling them so they were very patient. He also attempted to chase the small goats, but he needs to work on his speed a little.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Blue Moon

Only once every blue moon does it rain in June. It will officially be winter here in just a week and a half. But not only are the seasons flopped from back home, there are also rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season goes from about December to March and the rest is dry. This year it was a little longer with the floods, but it has been over a month since it rained until now. The teachers I work with said there may occasionally be a couple of showers in June, but very rarely will it thunderstorm and carry on like it did the past 2 days. I hear it has been nearly 20 years since the last time it happened. But needless to say, it’s apparently a blue moon, because it has just rained in June :-)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

17 Years & Counting...

So here I thought that I would be getting a year off from school coming here, but as God’s good sense of humor has it, one of the main things I’m doing here is working in the school, haha. The children have their own school here at the home. They operate on the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) program. I find it best described as being similar to the self-paced, individualized aspect of home schooling, but is set in classrooms with teachers and where certain subjects are pulled out and taught/supplemented class-room style. Each different subject has a long series of workbooks that will be worked through from preschool through high school with every 12 books indicating the next grade level. This program works well because so many of the kids have come here with differing educational levels and backgrounds and this way they can begin at an individualized level in each subject no matter what their age.
There are 6 different classrooms that are divided by grade level, but not necessarily actual age: preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade, lower elementary, upper elementary/lower middle, and upper middle school/high school. Preschool is taught by COZV’s own Beerina (19) who got her pre-school teaching certificate last April, but the rest of the classes are taught by local teachers.
Each classroom has a main supervisor and a monitor. Together they work to make sure the kids stay on task, make sure they understand concepts before moving on, tutor them in things they don’t understand, and monitor the scoring of their work. And of course there is also the paperwork of administering tests, grading, and entering grades. I am the monitor to the oldest classroom, which is also the largest with 19 kids.
School goes from 7:30 am to 2:45 pm Monday thru Friday with a break for lunch at 1. Whatever they don’t finish of their assigned “goals” for the day must be completed during homework time in the afternoon or some of the oldest kids are permitted to take their workbooks home at night to work on them. They go to school almost year round to try and help in catching them up with their schooling.
I worked in the same position the first time I came here so it was a relatively quick and easy adjustment since I had already been trained in the system. I have really enjoyed getting to spend more time with the kids since I am with them all day in school in addition to the time spent with them at the home.
Pictured above is the setup of the classrooms. Each child has an “office” where they do their work and then the slanted table on the left is where they score their work. To the right is Fortune Madzime, the supervisor of the classroom and the vice principal of the school, helping someone with their work.