Life in Rwanda

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Interesting observations about school this week

– Classes have been running late all week and I was sure that it was because the student, Fred, who is charge of hitting the bell with a big stick at the end of every period, did not have the correct time on his watch. This turned out to be true and was corrected on Thursday morning (after three days of classes ending 5 minutes late). Things can also run late if Fred is busy taking notes and forgets to leave on time or classes can end early if he is particularly bored. I am skeptical of a system that gives a 16 year old boy this much power.

– When classes do run late I often have to stand outside the room and wait for the teacher before me to finish up there lesson. When they come out they apologize for running late but I have a feeling that they are not really sorry but they know that I like to be on time so they pretend to be sorry. When I finally get inside the kids are still copying notes from the previous lecture. I could erase it but since their notes are their textbooks I would feel really bad doing that. Instead I just wait off to one side and figure out how to make my 50 minute lesson into a 35 minute one instead.

– During an exercise yesterday one of my boys said to me, ” Teacher, I would really like to know where Scottish people come from.” Like a sucker I starting explaining until I noticed that all the kids were taking notes and that I was doing their homework for them. They also spent about 10 minutes asking me questions about the meanings of words that other teachers used in their classes. The other teachers put notes up in English but never take the time to explain the big words that they use so the kids never really learn anything. Sometimes teaching her can be frustrating.

Teaching gets a little better every day. I made my students name tags and am slowly trying to learn all of their names but it is difficult with so many kids and so many similar names! They are starting to get used to the fact that I have a different teaching method that actually requires them to participate in activities. Some of my older boys were not so inclined to participate in our class rendition of “head, shoulders, knees and toes” or other fun games, but once I gave them an option of playing along or having a quiz they were magically inspired to get up and sing!!!

When I taught prepositions this week I brought in a Beanie Baby and we played a game called “Where is Murtle the Turtle?” The kids would shut their eyes (although I had many cheaters) and I would hide Murtle somewhere in the  classroom. When they would open their eyes they would find Murtle and use prepositions to describe where he was. Towards the end of the game I would let students come to the front to be the teacher. They would tell the class to shut their eyes and then took great pleasure in trying to find funny places to put Murtle. Often it would be on the head of classmate or the pocket of their skirt but much to my horror Murtle once ended up in the trash can! It was mostly paper but my big fear was that he would get spiders on him- there are tons of spiders in the corners of the classrooms and they freak me out!

Overall it was a really great week. I have one class that is really chatty and never seems to pay attention so the other day I gave them a lecture about how I came all the way from America to teach them and I would really like for them to listen and if they don’t I could always just go home. They felt really bad and asked me to please stay and I didn’t really feel guilty because they were finally quite. Hopefully the lack of guilt doesn’t make me a bad teacher. 🙂

Here is my schedule- Wednesday is my long day and usually requires a nap afterwards

My fabulous medical kit- it has just about everything you could ever want!

This is my new book shelf. Yes- it looks messy because the bottom two shelves have dirty laundry on them. I contemplated clearing them off to take this picture, but I think it is better to tell the truth. The truth is that it is that I live in Africa and it is dry season and we don’t always have a ton of water so I currently have a lot of dirty clothes. Such is life.

I have introduced my nuns to the wonder that is the game UNO. We have so much fun playing it after dinner and through card games I have discovered that many of the nuns are very competitive. The other night we were being especially loud arguing over something and the other nuns had to tell us to be quite…oops! We have decided to keep a score chart and the person who wins the most each month will get some kind of cool surprise. Life with the nuns is never boring.

Yesterday I went to visit the kiddos who live in the convent. I got there while they were eating and afterwards we had a photo shoot (people of all ages here love photos- the caretakers were just as excited as the children) and played with bubbles! It is so much fun to spend time with them although something weird always tends to happen during each visit. Yesterday I was busy extracting a child’s hand from my shirt when I felt a weird sensation on my arm and looked down to see a child licking me. I kindly removed his mouth from my arm and made it a priority to shower last night. Despite the unwanted attention  from a child’s tongue it was a really fun afternoon and I feel truly blessed to live 20 feet away from such adorable children who never fail to brighten my day! Sometimes it can be hard to be so far away and I think to myself that it would be nice to be in America. To take a hot shower not just pour a bucket of water over myself. To see my family and friends whenever I want. But on these days there is always something that cheers me up. The other night I was feeling rather sulky and one of the nuns sang me a song in Kinyarwanda that she wrote just for me. How can you be sulky when someone is writing songs for you? The answer is you simply can’t- there is no time to be sulky when a room full of nuns are serenading you.

 

Here are some pictures of the cuties who live next to me! If you are ever looking for a way to help out I would love to get them some new outfits. Many of them only have one or two outfits, so if you have leftover clothes from your little ones or see an awesome sale on kids clothes I will be asking my mom and sister to bring out clothes in August when they visit. They can be any size, some of the kiddos are really tiny (toddler sizes) and some are as old as 12.

I would feel really bad picking my favorites… but if I did have a favorite she would be it! 🙂

Eating dinner

Wonderful teachers/caregivers

This kiddo’s name is… Enoch! Small world! He is super adorable and loves to give hugs!

I hope that everyone back home is having a wonderful week- I miss you all lots!

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