Archive for July, 2010

How Did We Get Here Anyways?

I realized I had never really blogged about how we got to Tanzania in the first place. Here is the short version:

Back in the summer of 2008, Austin and I had the pleasure of being part of the first ever International Assignment team for Young Life camps. Not really understanding the blessing God had given us at the time time, we can now see how much the Lord has worked through us and in us being there for the short time we were there.
While there we met and worked closely with, Alexis and Jackie, who are in charge of Arusha Young Life, Martin who is in charge of Nairobi Young Life, and Steve Larmey, who is the  vice president of YL Africa, and lives in Dar es Salaam with his family.
At camp Austin and I were still not married, but knew we were heading towards that and knew we wanted to do some sort of international work in the future. Pursuing the options in Latin America seemed like the best situation because of our knowledge of Spanish and love for Latin American cultures, but the door was not opening. I did however, get and invite from Dyan Larmey to come teach at the school her children attend. Because I had just finished my first year of teaching, which i disliked very much, I was very hesitant to say yes at the time.
After the amazing month with the team, Austin and I did get engaged and married a few months later. We then again began to pursue work abroad. Again no doors were opening in Latin America, but we got a mass email from Dyan about HOPAC, needing teachers including a fifth grade teacher. Austin and I read over the email and knew that this was the door we were waiting to open.
We quickly put together our applications and received word that we were accepted. From there we just had a few months to pack up, rent out our house, and figure out all of the logistics before moving to Africa. Ironically, China and the whole of Africa, were at the bottom of our list when it came to doing work abroad. But the Lord has a great sense of humor and Africa it was.
Coming to Africa for the first time, we had no idea what to expect, pack, or think, about what our time here would look like. We have been so pleasantly surprised by what our life here is, however it has not been easy and many times is extremely challenging.
We are not sure where the Lord will take us next, but we are grateful for the adventure we have been on so far.

Program with Sam, Martin and Alexis

Who would have known we would be with them in Africa 2 years later : )

The Oompa Loompas who were too tall and Miss Veruca. Good Times!

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Arusha Time

I have said it before and I will say it again! I LOVE ARUSHA! Whenever we go there I am so filled with happiness and joy! There are many reasons for this but here are the reasons from our past week in Arusha:

1. There are mountains everywhere. Coming from Tucson, I love the mountains so much and miss them greatly while living in Dar. The mountains and hills are beautiful, especially when Mt. Meru, Kilimanjaro’s sister mountain in Tanzania, makes an appearance from behind the clouds.

Mt. Meru and the Wedding Band at Camp.

2. The weather was incredible. We even wore jackets and had gloves on. Maybe it wasn’t quite cold enough for them but either way we were actually feeling cold and I was loving it.

Bundled up (compared to Dar) with Hannah on the porch.

3. Great friends. We have many great friends in Arusha, and this time there were many more that came from Kenya and other areas who we got to hang out with. Zac and Hannah, who do YL at the International schools in Arusha and let us stay in their fabulous house. James and Martin, YL Africa Staff from Kenya who are sure to make you laugh every time you are with them. Alexis and Jaque who run YL in Arusha for the national schools, who are so passionate about what they are doing and great company. Along with these friends we were able to hang out with other people in their circle of friends which was so much fun. I have not laughed as hard as we laughed with them in a long while.

Laughing so hard with our friends at dinner.

4. Great food. Because of the cooler weather, Arusha is able to have things like grapes, raspberries, strawberries, and lettuce available much more often then we have in Dar. We were very thankful and made sure to capitalize during our time there. We also made sure to pick up some of the most delicious coffee (according to Austin the coffee expert), in Tanzania from Burka Coffee. On our final night we had a BBQ with Zac and Hannah and their friends Tait and Hunter and John and Wendy with their kids. It was so wonderful. We ate outside under the moonlight, with a bonfire.

Bonfire time.

All of these things made going back to Dar hard to swallow. I am so grateful for our time there of relaxing and spending time with wonderful people.

HOPAC Class of 2010

This year the HOPAC, class of 2010, was the second class to graduation from Kindergarten all the way until Grade 12. Of the class about half of them had been at HOPAC since Kindergarten, which is pretty amazing considering how mobile the missionary community is here.
Austin and I attended the graduation dinner at Anghiti’s, a local Indian restaurant, where Austin was the MC for the event. The students and parents all had a chance to say their thank you’s and goodbye’s to teacher’s who have loved them well.
On graduation day, they were all so proud of their accomplishments and so were their family and friends. The ceremony was filled with speeches, and songs, and praise to the Lord for allowing these students to get to this point.
It is amazing to see how many of them are heading off to great colleges around the world, and with full scholarship as well. The class of 20 students was awarded over 2.5 million dollars in scholarship money, one student has a full ride to Harvard. For having such a small class this is quite impressive.
We are particularly proud of the Wyld Life leaders who we were able to work with for the past year. They are all such wonderful lights in the community and we pray that the Lord continues to grow them in their walk of faith as they move on to the next step of life.
Congrats HOPAC Class of 2010! You did it!

WYld Life Leaders at their graduation dinner

Happy Fourth Of July!

Getting the pontoon ready for the Flotilla parade, 2008. Hopefully we can be back to win the title again soon! : )

We are at Young Life camp in Iringa for this fourth of July so there won’t be any fireworks or BBQ’s, but we will be having a great time!

Hope that your Fourth is filled with joy and lots of family time! Missing out families in Pinetop and on the lake at this time. Hopefully we can be at one of those next year!

HOPAC’s Got Talent!

Since the beginning of the school year, I have been helping moderate the primary student council. I have loved doing this, as Student Council was one of the activities I loved most throughout middle and high school. Every year the student council is in charge of the end of the year talent show, which I was very excited to help facilitate.
We held tryouts, in which each act had to be under 2 mins, and well prepared. My amazing student council leaders were ready to do the judging and did a great job organizing. A few of the student council members volunteered to be MC’s for the event and were very eager to be a part of the big show. They all wrote their own scripts to introduce each act, which were quite clever. After a few rehearsals, they were feeling ready for their moment to shine.
On performance day, we made a big banner for the back drop and set up the stage so that it really looked more like a stage for performing.
Parents, teachers, students and friends came to watch their little darling up on stage. Some of the acts included:
– A cute little girl singing the hit by Mary Chapin Carpenter Sing Sing a Song.
– Another cute girl singing the always popular It’s a Small WOrld. (Many teachers were not happy with me later, as it was stuck in their head all day long.)
– Two boys doing magic tricks, Including pick a card and card, and pulling rabbits out of a hat. Magician’s hat, wand, and cape were present as well.
– Two precious girls diva like singing to Hit Me Baby One More Time.
– Two boys who lay down 3 cushions and did one somersault, each one a separate act from the other. (Note I am not so sure about the talent on this one, but the crowd enjoyed it and I thought it better to build them up then let them down.)
– A sweet kindergarten girl who wrote her very own song about how Jesus loves us. : )
– Three sweet girls dressed like fairies standing under a painted rainbow singing somewhere over the rainbow. A crowd favorite.
-Two of my fifth graders doing a comedy routine. One dressed as a chicken and one as a cow.
-Piano and violin acts.
And the winners…
– A second grade boy singing to Wild Wild West who had great stage presence and charisma.
– A fourth grader who played the piano beautifully.
– And number one went to Celia, a second grader who sang , The Battle Is Not Ours, like an angel.

And lets not forget my amazing MC’s they were prepared, and enthusiastic the whole show. There were a few tears at the end for those who did not win, but overall they loved it and they got a all got a chu chu (otter pop like treat).

Overall, the event went so well and I was so proud of them. They ven got a great compliment from the principal who has been at HOPAC for many years that it was possibly the best talent show she had seen at HOPAC. Way to go STUCO!

A cow, and MC and a chicken

Somewhere over the Rainbow : )

Ta da!!!

These dolls sang hit me baby one more time.

The after show.

The winners!

The whole shabang

End of the Year

The end of the school year has finally come. Throughout most of my life, the end of the school year always seemed to come so quickly, this year this was not the case. Coming from Arizona, I am used to school getting out mid-May and having a full at least 2 and a half months off of school. Being at HOPAC, I have learned that the Brits do not have this long of a summer and therefore the school year did not end until the end of June. I think this would not have been as much of an issue for me if the last few weeks were filled with exams, grades and things that seemed worthy of being in school still. This however, was not the case. The last few weeks were filled with sports days, swim galas, talent shows, movie watching, and many more filler days. My students graduated a week and a half before school ended, which made my job as a teacher seem quite impossible, what was I supposed to carry on with after I had already said congratulations and given them certificates. Most of the secondary school, also had finished their exams and were doing the same thing, stalling until the last day. Maybe it is just my naive American education perspective that made me think this time was a bit of a drag but was it really necessary?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I did soak up the extra days with my students who I love so much, and we played lots of games and had great times, and for that I was very thankful.
The end of the year has come and gone. I am so grateful for HOPAC and the year that we have had. I am most thankful for my students and their families, and all we have learned together this year.

IT Guru's celebrating the last day!

Getting ready to compete in the swim gala.

Grade 5 Graduation Ceremony

: ) Last day of school

The little's swimming across the pool.