Archive for June, 2010

A Time to Graduate

The time has come for school to end. As I think back at the past year and the students who walked in my door the first day of school, I am amazed at the transformation that has been made. My students have matured so much in so many ways. They have gone from little boys and girls to young men and women. They have been stretched academically, spiritually, and physically. They have cried and laughed, worked hard and had fun. It has been such a blessing to get to know these students so well. We have had so much fun together exploring and learning, and becoming great friends.

On their primary graduation day, all of their parents came to celebrate and it was a celebration in deed. They did so well performing at their assembly about the past, present and future time at HOPAC. For the past, they reminisced about their days in Kindergarten with lots of candy and naps. For the present, they remembered our unit in Romans and our time in the Amani Rain forest. Looking in to the future the girls saw themselves with great jobs reconnecting at a reunion, while the boys were soccer stars for Man U and AC Milan. They sang King of Majesty, which I thought was so fitting for them as a class. I pray that throughout their lives that Jesus will be their King of Majesty. They said goodbye to Miss Apa, Cheryl’s Aid for the past two years, and sang her a song in Swahili. Their parents joined in prayer for them about their adventures in secondary.

I have so much to say about them but maybe I will save that for another post. For now, I simply want to wish them the very best in their coming years whether they are at HOPAC, in Finland, or in Denmark or around the world. I pray the Lord’s blessings and guidance in their lives always. Congratulations my dear students! I will miss our times together greatly!

Graduation Day : )

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Our brief encounter with the Fifa World Cup 2010

Well as you probably already know the World Cup has begun! Being in Africa, we can see the excitement all around us. People have been talking about it since we arrived. Many of our Tanzanian friends are so proud to have such a World Wide event here in Africa.

When we first got here, we were under the naive impression that it would be cheap and easy for us to get ourselves tickets to the World Cup. We quickly found out that this was not the case. It is not cheap or easy at all. In fact, just traveling around Tanzania is not cheap or easy. With that being said we realized our hopes of going to the World Cup were not going to be a reality. Being more the type of people who like to play a sport, than watch it we were more than content with joining our friends here and there to watch a few games on the TV.

However, one day a few weeks ago we heard a rumor that Brazil, one of the number 1 contenders for this year’s cup were going to come and play the Tanzanian team here in Dar es Salaam. This was something we all were excited about and so we decided to go. Our good friend Shaun waited all day long in a place that we were not even sure really had tickets. When the tickets were finally delivered they were brought in an old beat up dala dala with 6 men selling tickets out the window and people crowding all around trying to get their tickets. No such thing as lines and organization for this one.

We left early after school, decked out in Tanzanian colors, for the adventure with a group of our friends, so that we could avoid traffic. Thankfully, the traffic was not too bad and we got to the stadium in time.

The stadium is just 2 years old and was built by the Chinese. There are many things all throughout Africa that have been build by the Chinese. The stadium is very impressive, especially for Dar es Salaam. The old stadium is still right beside the new one, and it pales in comparison to the new one.

The old stadium.

The new stadium (and Austin and our friends Lindsey, Steve and Elaine)

Singing the national anthems inside of the stadium.

Anyways, we were so very excited to be there to see some of the best players in the world playing right in front of our eyes. You could tell that many Tanzanian’s had never been to an event like this before. They were cheering for both teams and most of them were not sporting their own country’s colors. It was however, a great event.

Highlights:

1. During the Brazil National Anthem the men running the sound system were not able to turn off the advertisement blaring in the background. Sorry Brazil.. no disrespect. Whoops.

2. The power point and excel slide show, due to the fact that whoever was running the AV was not very familiar with the system.

3. A Tanzanian fan who ran across the field past security, gave Kaka a hug and then was quickly ushered off the field and given a stern talking from the Tanzanian officials.

Of course Brazil won, and to be honest they were not really even trying hard. Tanzania did get one goal which was surprising and exciting! The final score was 5-1.

This was truly one of those once in a life time experiences that I am very grateful. Maybe one day we will be able to go and see the real thing! BRAZIL 2014 ? There is always a possibility.

Brazilian players dominating.

Kaka right before a random Tanzanian ran and gave him a hug on the field.

Coming together after scoring one of five goals.

Excited to be there!

Coming and Going

One thing that we have learned about living in a missionary community is that people come and go a lot. It seems like just about every month or so there is a welcome, or going away party. This is just part of life in our community here in Dar.We have been very blessed to have community here. I would surely go crazy if I did not have the people around to love, encourage and support our work here.
Over this year there are a few particular people that have left/are leaving, who have meant a lot to us.
Brandon and Amanda Maxwell have already left to go back home to Minnesota but we really loved their friendship and the service they gave to HOPAC. They have just finished their 3rd year here in Dar es Salaam and have done so much for the community here. Brandon is a stellar English teacher and Basketball coach and Amanda ran the service learning for primary, student council and really spear headed the entire soccer program for HOPAC. Amanda is an amazing soccer coach, and player and her expertise really added to the HOPAC program. Outside of HOPAC, they were involved in some village work where they ran sports, and games for kids. They also helped to build a church and installed a clean water well for the people of the village. There is no doubt their work here will have a lasting impact on this community. They are now home safely preparing to have their first child which is very exciting. We are so grateful for our time with them and we miss them dearly!

Brandon and Amanda : )

Another couple that has been a great source of friendship for us here have been Steve and Lindsey Kreiger. We did not meet them until November when we started going to a new church. They are from Virginia, and are here with Reach Global teaching business to the local Tanzanians. There is such a need for this as many have no concept of what a business should look like or how it should be ran, yet many of them have their own small businesses. Unlike us, they have learned a lot of Swahili, and in my opinion are more than conversationally fluent (I must admit I am jealous of this! We do not get the same exposure here at HOPAC, and I love learning languages.) They have been busy all year teaching classes and running workshops but their year is coming to a close. They will be leaving in July, because they too will be going home to have a baby boy! So exciting.

Cheering on Tanzania at the Brazil v TZ game.

We have enjoyed our many hours of hang out time with them. We have had lots of dinners, played lots of card games, BBQ’d and went to the Brazil v. Tanzania game with them which was such an adventure! We are so grateful for them in our lives.

Steve and Lindsey (and Isaiah our nieghbor in the background) enjoying a BBQ at the Baum's

We are sad that they are all leaving but wish them nothing but the blessings in their future endeavors as parents. Hopefully, we will be able to visit them again one day in the States and meet their new little ones.

Random Africa Goodness

A local hospital.... Comforting name wouldn't you say?

Our favorite advertisement for "Hair Mayonnaise" Mmmmm...

Birthday party for 3 of our favorite kids in Africa!

My very first homemade pizza.

Ginger the dog celebrating birthdays. She helps me not miss Osa bear so much.

Our very last wYLd Life of the year, Luau on the beach

Our roommate Kate : )

Fifth Grade Sleepover

Crazy…. Daring…. Brave…. These are just a few of the words that people used to describe Austin and I as we willingly decided to invite all of my students to a fifth grade sleepover at our house.

I had promised them the whole year that we would have an end of the year party and so I made sure to deliver. Of course they were full of questions and could not wait for it. Some of the questions were hilarious, for example ” What time are we going to go to bed?” Apparently this student of mine has not been to many sleepovers. “Can I bring 2 suitcases?” It is only for 1 night kids I don’t want to even see 1 case, bring a backpack. Inevitably, one of the girls brought one. “Is there going to be Air Conditioning?” Most of my kids have lived in Africa their whole life, but this question proves that they are not kids that come from the average Tanzanian family. Yes, we have an AC unit in our bedroom. No, it will not be used for you all, all night. Silly kids. Ha ha.

Anyways, the big day finally came. I was amazed at all of the stuff they brought to spend 1 night my house! We began with a group picture and a delicious ice cream treat from the Azam ice cream man who makes bank off of the kids leaving school each day. We then got into our play clothes and went to play some field games. At this time a large storm rolled in, one would think this would ruin the games, however we played right through it. We played steal the bacon, relay races, soccer and much more soaked and covered in grass, dirt,  and mud. They had so much fun!

Group Photo before the madness.

I Sream You Scream we all Scream for ICE CREAM!

Rolling in the mud.

The rain finally let up and we sent them to the pool showers to rinse off. After rinsing off we had pool time with Marco polo, sharks and minnows and my favorite the belly flop contest. Then it was time to head home for dinner.

Belly FLop Contest

We had to cross a very dangerous street, no crosswalk of course, to get to our house which was what I was most nervous for but thankfully we all made it! We set up the movie projector in our old empty house where the boys were sleeping and the girls left their stuff in our current house.

The kids were all hungry and so we ate. I had their parents each bring something to save me the time and it really worked out great!

After watching Evan Almighty, playing charades, and capture the flag, we went back to school to participate in the school’s first ever Swim Marathon. Austin and I had signed up for this some time ago but the only night we could do the sleepover was the same night so we brought them along and they swam too. We had the 10pm and 11pm shifts so while we each swam for an hour the kids took turns in the lane next to it. They were more excited about it than the secondary swimmers which was fun, except of course my students who fell asleep on the stadium benches.

Swimming at the Swim Marathon.

At midnight we walked back. We then watched Star Wars and most of them started to get tired. I took the girls back (3:45am ish) and quickly fell asleep. I was not meant to get no sleep. Unfortunately the kids left the door open and the mosquito’s were swarming! I had 11 bites on my neck alone in the morning. Girls had fallen asleep with Lollipops in their mouths and many stayed awake all night. The boys did stay awake all night. Poor Austin. They were putting toothpaste on everyone’s faces, and playing sardines and hide and go seek. They wanted to leave the house to play outside at 5am but we held them off until 7am for the sake of the neighbors.

My favorite picture of the night.

I woke up at 6 and prepared the breakfast. They were all exhausted but trying to use the bit of energy they still had. We had them clean up the now destroyed house (good thing there was no furniture) and pack up. Mom’s and Dad’s came at 9am and Austin and I went to bed as soon as they all were gone. We too were exhausted but the kids had a great time and I know it will be something the remember forever.

I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I sure am going to miss these kids!

Assessments

As the end of scholastic year is finally here, so too comes the end of the year assessments. As a teacher I really dislike this time of year. My first year of teaching testing was the climax of the year. Everything we did was built upon THE TEST. This drove me nuts! Thankfully, at HOPAC, I have had less pressure of this kind, which is great. I have been able to be more creative, cover more material more thoroughly, and overall I think my students this year have learned a ton more than my previous students.

I still however, do not like testing. As a kid, and really all the way through my schooling, I was not a good test taker. If I was given material to study and worked hard I did well, but on the state administered tests I never did well. I always felt like I was lesser because of this growing up. I am now very aware that this is not the case but the pressure was no fun.

Watching my students feel the same pressure, even if it is less here, is no fun. They are all wonderful students, and although some have more weaknesses academically than others they all have great strengths. I dislike that a few days of testing determines how they will continue on in their schooling.

Thankfully, God has blessed us all with many talents and being at the top of the testing curve does not equal beautiful and successful in the eyes of our creator. I pray that all of my students would understand and embrace this during their academic careers.