Saturday, August 27, 2011

Two Heartbreakers

Meagan sent me this photo of George and Jason in the new outfits that my daughter Sara sent for them. These two really are Best Friends Forever as well as the source of much mischief and laughter wherever they go!

HIZ Group Arrives at Namwianga

Another excited and enthusiastic group of Harding University students arrived at Namwianga this week. One of them is Hanna Boyd, a sweet young woman who grew up in our Brentwood Oaks congregation in Austin. I have known her since she was born, and I am thrilled that she is now experiencing Zambia through the HIZ program.

Hanna wrote a blog entry about her first days at Namwianga, and it is easy to tell that she is quickly falling in love with Africa. She has met George and Jason, held babies at the Havens, toured the campus, and met Mrs. Moono. David and I love hearing her excitement. Here are some excerpts:

We flew into a little airport in Livingstone, Zambia, and from there went to Victoria Falls. That was a BEAUTIFUL place. I had been there before but I didn’t remember a lot of it. We spent a few hours there walking around and taking tons of pictures at all the different sight spots! Rainbows were everywhere and seeing the power of the falls was incredible. The Hippo Song has always been a funny little camp song but we kept singing “God’s fingerprints are everywhere just to show how much He cares” and it wasn’t just a funny song anymore. I don’t know how you can see Victoria Falls and not think about how much God cares about you. . .

We went to visit Mrs. Moono. She lives on the mission and she sews anything we want out of chitanges! That was the first time we met her and she was so sweet! Gregersens and Broadways-she was so happy to hear that I know y'all…she asked all about how y'all are doing and she gave me big hugs for each of you!

. . . The very little time that we have spent at Namwianga has already been incredible! It truly is home. I love it already…I love Namwianga, I love the people and the children, and I love my HIZ family that I’m here with!

Africa has claimed another student. Hanna will never be the same.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Back to School

Some personal news: I started a new job last week. I am teaching second grade in Carthage, a town about 30 miles west of Mount Vernon. So far I've had six days of in-service training and spent many hours getting my classroom ready for the first day of school on August 18.

I have thought many times about the contrast between back-to-school preparations here in the US and those in Zambia, so I thought I would re-post a blog from 2007 about Brian Siakuba's student teaching experience.

Today we made another grueling drive to Chiili to pick up Brian Siakuba, a GBCC student teacher who had been there since May. The community came to say goodbye and gathered for this final photo. Brian is on the left side in the front row wearing a white shirt.

The community leaders were sad to see him go. He had proven himself to be an excellent teacher and a great worker in the local congregation. The woman who serves as head of the village begged us to send more teachers from GBCC. We hope to do just that!

On the way home, I asked Brian to describe the greatest challenge he encountered. He told us about facing the start of the term alone. We had taken him to Chiili on the first Saturday in May before the term was to begin on Monday. No other teachers were there, but we assumed they would be arriving on Sunday. As it turns out, Brian was the only teacher at the school for the first two weeks of the term. One teacher arrived after two weeks, and the head teacher arrived three weeks after the term began. Poor Brian had to figure out what to teach without any guidance! He seemed to have taken it all in stride and recommended that we send more student teachers there next year.

We are proud of students like Brian and look forward to hearing more of their stories as they return from their first experiences in the field.

Update on Brian: Brian graduated in 2008 and spent two years working with a newly planted church in northern Zambia. Currently he is back in the Namwianga area and teaches in a rural school. His wife is also a graduate of GBCC and teaches at the same school.