Wednesday, August 20, 2008


It has officially started! I feel like I just got out for the summer. That's alright though. I have almost finished my first week. This is my third year of teaching. I have taught 1st grade each year. I enjoy it. I always forget how little they are though when they come in. It's amazing how much these kids grow through the year.

I have a big class this year! I am starting off with 28 kids. Usually I start off with around 24 kids and then end the year with 27 or 28. So... we shall see how many I actually end up with. That is a ton of 6 year olds but they make me laugh and I love em. I just come home exhausted. But Mason has learned my quirks and how to suffice the crabby beast.

In about two weeks I am going to start teaching an after school ballroom dance class for the 4th graders. It's just an introduction to ballroom dance class but I am excited to be dancing again. I have never taught dance before, only done it - and I have never really worked with that age before. But it still will be fun!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Last Africa Posts

So this blog will be about the 'non' service side of my trip. We worked during the work days and then on the weekends we got to play.

One night we went to this nicer restaurant and they had goat... so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try it. Needless to say the next day as we were passing the little guys on the side of the road I had a hard time looking them in the eye... I guess there isn't much difference between a cow and a goat... right? It was actually delicious! One of the other girls ordered some type of fish... needless to say - a delicacy in Uganda is to suck out the eyeballs. She did.

This is me standing at the Nile.

This is the typical 'missionary pointing on map' pose.

This was the closest I was to Mason the whole trip.

So one morning there was this random Hippo walking down the road. Of course we followed it. This was, of course, before we learned from one of the military men that hippos are the number one killing animal of people in Africa. Probably because of stupid tourists like me. But hey! I got the picture didn't I?!?

These are some pictures from our safari. It was absolutely amazing to see these animals in their natural habitat.

I loved it. Like I said before this was a life changing experience for me. It made me appreciate the things I have in my life more than I can even begin to explain. These people were so happy with so little and yet I often find myself complaining about my life when I have so much.

Here are a couple of videos that you can watch if you would like. This first one is of a boy who told me his name was Michael Jackson. I asked him if he knew who that was and he started dancing with them. Towards the end of the video the kids are climbing in the van so I am trying to get them out. Only a few of these kids spoke English.

These girls wanted to send Mason a message after they saw his picture. It is basically impossible to understand what they are saying because they would get so silly whenever the camera came on and all talk at the same time. I couldn't seem to get them to understand that I couldn't understand what they were saying. They were hilarious.

Often when we would go to the schools the kids would prepare a song for us. This was the last school we went to the day before we left. It was the perfect ending. It made me cry. Listen to the harmonies. Aren't they beautiful?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Africa II

There was a dentist who came with us. He had a whole dental clinic set up that we worked in the days that we weren't working in the schools. I got to do the whole dental assistant thing which I am COMPLETELY unqualified to do. I held down the patients, (because they didn't have chairs - of course) I handed tools, assisted pulling teeth, held in a filling... needless to say if I ever get tired of teaching I certainly have a backup career now. The thing is, is that I am quite the queasy type. I usually can't handle any type of blood or needles... but I had to overcome that very quickly as numbing needles came out. Indeed I did have a tooth fall on me - twice. Now who can say they have had that happen?? It was quite a learning experience for me. I really came to appreciate 1)my career, 2)our wonderful dentists who have patience and kindness, and 3) being raised having healthy teeth. I have never seen so many rotten teeth on young children or adults before.

Here I am holding a filling...
Bizarre - I know.

When the dentist was working on someone else we would entertain the kids and sometimes adults because they would become so nervous as the sounds of a dentist office would arise. Crazy huh!!

Another day we went to an orphanage to paint. I tried to take a before and after picture. We came in and painted while the orphans were at school. We didn't get to see their reactions but the owner was so excited. At one point I was painting a window frame and I was singing a song because thats what I do when I am working. Anyway so I was alone in the room singing to myself and I look out the window which is set on a small hill and see a little group of children watching me. They all started laughing but I kept going. They didn't speak English so we couldn't communicate, but I would sing and then point to them and they would try to repeat... I loved it.


- look he's holding a toothbrush!!


Still more to come!!