Wednesday, May 15.
Yesterday a lady came to the school looking to enroll her daughter in one of the “Skills” courses, and talked to Esther about her daughter. So today they came back and I talked with the daughter one-on-one in the social work office (she didn't want Esther there too) about her life. We made a goal sheet for her of things to work on, and I listened to her as she poured out her story of previous poor choices in life and how she knows she needs to return to school in order to have a better life for herself.
This morning, Esther and I sorted out over 200 blankets that were donated to the school. They were all different colours, but not very thick unfortunately. We handed them out to every child after they were done their lunch.
I also visited the grade 3 class today for a little while to see what they were learning, but because it was right before lunch, a student was up at the front telling a story in his own language so I didn't understand anything.
At the end of the day, we handed out meal packets to some of the poorest children, and then we attended a staff meeting. I also saw a student from the Skills class today wearing a “Run Calgary” shirt, so obviously it was donated and sent over here.
Next Thursday is the grand opening of the new school, even though we are there everyday, and the Mayor and Bishop is coming, as well as a lot of important people in the religious community, the surrounding community, and possibly some board of education people. The workers are still finishing up the school, and the school yard is looking really nice. I don't want to post pictures of the school until it is done! I am hoping to video record a lot of the grand opening, and then create a video with the footage, so I will post that (if I get it approved). :)
Tuesday, May 14.
This morning the grade 4 teacher was not there at the start of school so I was asked to walk the students to their room. They sang their morning songs and said their morning prayer, and after all of that, the teacher was still not there. (Some of the teachers are still taking their exams). So, the grade 6 teacher who came by told me to read them a story, and so I read a “Noddy” book to them, and then started a Venn Diagram with them on the chalkboard, comparing Canada with South Africa. When I showed them where Canada was on the map, (Not separated by countries, just continents) they said “No, that's America!”. Thankfully breakfast time came, so I was off the hook for a while when they were eating their oatmeal, but then I was still in charge after that. So I was starting to have them pull out one of their textbooks when one of the grade 2 teachers came in to take over. Thank goodness! I'm not that skilled in working with 8 year olds, and really had no clue what to teach them/what they were learning about. But mostly the problem was that they would not be quiet for me at all.
I met with the social worker, Esther, after that, and we went to the Kindergarten Centre the Sisters also run. This is where I want to be everyday, (with new black babies to love!) and I will be there for a couple of hours now every Tuesday morning. There were an insane amount of them, all playing in the fenced-in yard, on the playground equipment and playing “house” with some plastic dishes near the building. Only a few came up to me at first, so I walked to where more children were playing. This is where I started to get a following, so we walked to the grass and I got the 30+ of them to form a big circle (which was the fastest I have ever seen a group of children make a circle, and the best circle I have ever seen made by children). The funny thing is that most of the children do not speak/know English yet, or just know how to say “good morning” and “hello”. This obviously didn't matter as I was leading all of them in a “Monkey See, Monkey Do” sort of game, and they understood my hand movements of where to go/what to do. After a while of that “game” I took them all in the shade and more joined us (but there were still so many of them playing) and we sang songs they knew in English like the Alphabet (which they sing a little differently) and Baa Baa Black Sheep and we counted and it was so funny to watch them sit there and sing and then clap afterward. The teachers there were laughing at us too, and the children also sang some of their own African songs. I also taught them a song from when I was in preschool. When we went back to the grass, they eventually started playing one of their own games with clapping and going around the circle and then it was time for me to leave.
It was almost lunch time when we came back, so Esther and I ate ours, and then I helped serve food to the students in the lunch room and helped the students on “dish duties” to dry them. Esther and I talked a lot then about what she does and what I will do with her, and then it was the end of the day.
Magda and I came home, and then walked to the Sister's house to cook for them for once, but we ended up being able to heat up left overs from last night to make a casserole with noodles we made, so it was very easy.
It feels like I have been here for a very long time, and just my time at school these past couple of days have felt like at least a week. I received an email today from one of my best friends who is volunteering in Belize for 2 years, and it was sooo good to hear from her! Perhaps her love of Africa and children as well will lead us to work together one day.