The rain is coming down in sheets. A steady downpour which begs me to stay snuggled down into the covers, except my mind is awake. Wide awake. It is running two weeks ahead to my next trip to Uganda. It seems like I just got back…two times a year comes around quickly. May isn’t too far from January, they are neighbors. Yet, the teachers ask for more. More strategies. More knowledge. More literacy. How can I say no to such a heartfelt request? The answer is I can’t. I am committed to be a Westerner who doesn’t walk away, one who keeps my promises to be a partner. If I abandon them now what will happen to the trust we have built? It will confirm to them that those of us in the West are only in it for ourselves. When it’s convenient. When it suits our needs. When we want to look good. When there is a picture to be taken or an agenda to push. I don’t want to be THAT person.
I crawl out of the covers, brew a cup of coffee, and make my way to my chair. My favorite blanket awaits and I gaze outside to watch the rain. I can hear the songbirds through the window. The song Singing in the Rain, floods my mind. In the spring, the rain inspires the birds. It’s how I know this isn’t a storm, the notes are playful as they sing, as if they are bathing in the water instead of hiding from it.
Back to the task at hand…planning an ALI teacher conference. The teacher trainers are extending the training we did in January, a continuation of literacy, both for the teachers and their students. I have gotten word there are 5 new teachers, which is a huge answer to prayer. Now, to plan a session on co-teaching and how collaboration doubles the efforts with half the work. Comradery will go a long way in propelling this school forward, those of us who join Advancing Leaders, and Adventures in Missions in partnership believe in collaboration. Creating lessons for the topics the team will cover is paramount, so I can begin collecting the supplies I will carry. Thus far, I have collected books from generous people who have donated from their own personal collections and our local library donated easy readers of all kinds. My first foot locker is about full, which is a huge blessing.
My mind wanders back to the rain, which has lifted some. The sun is peaking out and everything is freshly washed and luscious green. My creative brain keeps rolling, filling the page with ideas in addition to the ones the ALI team worked on over the weekend. Now to find books, which are the right level, subject, and content for the book studies we are going to teach the teachers to do. What better way to learn than to do the activities yourself? Want to teach a book study in Science? Participate in one, first. Want to integrate literacy skills into history class? Do it yourself, then you can teach others. It is a simple concept, but one which is foreign to parents who are untrained in educational practices. To be prepared, we have to research and match curriculum to picture books that can be used as a resource to pull content into reading. Picture books are short enough we can cover them in the four-day conference, and the level is simple enough the teachers can comprehend and make the connections between reading and content.
The sun is out now. The clouds have fled for the moment, and the sky is deep blue. The birds call to me to come and play in the cool breeze. I whisper a grateful prayer for the privilege of sitting and listening to the rain, with a roof over my head, food on my table, my chair with my favorite blanket, and even covers to snuggle under. The gift of enjoying the rain in comfort instead of worrying it will flood my hut, or wipe out my crops is the difference between my American life and the survival life of a refugee.
My mind is still trying to decide on a multitude of decisions to be made between now and May 18thwhen I leave for Uganda. One of those is to listen, to their words and to their hearts. To be heard is one of the greatest gifts, to listen is a privilege. Wisdom is born out of hardship. I have much to learn from these refugee teachers, and their knowledge is much more than information. There is an exchange between us which connects people from vastly different environments, for the common cause of imparting hope.
Teacher friends, any ideas for fictional picture books you use in conjunction with any of these topics? Remember the schema is a refugee camp, so the kids don’t have a ton of experiences…the simpler the better. Comment here or message me if you have ideas that might work. Also, Advancing Leaders is having a book drive for those who would like to help us build a Library for Literacy!! Here is the link for the BOOK DRIVE. You can also check out the Greater Hope Project website for more ways to get involved.
- Respiratory system, digestive system, circulatory system and excretory system
- Energy- Heat, light, sound, energy sources
- Animal keeping- Goat, bees, cattle, poultry
- Plants and classification of plants
- Accidents and first Aid
- Simple mechanics and friction
- Electricity and magnetism
- Bacteria and fungi
- Measurements ie capacity, volume etc
- Primary Five focus on Uganda, the physical features, climate, Population, natural resources and the pre-colonial and colonial history of Uganda and Independence and life after independence.
- Primary Six focus on East Africa, Transport and communication, natural resources, the people and economic development of East Africa
- Primary Seven focuses on Africa – The climate, origin of the different ethnic groups, Major world organizations, The place of Africa in the world, the foreign groups in Africa, Post Independence Africa etc.
There will be more time for planning later. In the meantime, I would love your prayers:
- That I will have smooth travel (hard to go so far at this age…crazy really!)
- That the teachers will be inspired.
- That me and my teammate Winnie will pick the best topics.
- That Winnie will have safe travel.
- That we will have the creativity needed to cover them in ways that will translate to the classrooms.
- That the Ugandan team coming will flow with us, as they always do.
- That ALI will have the resources to purchase the supplies we need.
- That we will have safe travel to and from the camps.
- That each and every teacher who comes will be filled up with encouragement and practical ways to use the information we impart.
- That God would be lifted up in everything we do.
Thank you to all of you who support me in financial, spiritual, and emotional ways for this crazy journey God has me on in the second half of my life!