February 17, 2012
We are about a month into the new school year, and things are starting to fall into a nice rhythm. Thanks to the tireless efforts by our principal, our school now has all seven teaching slots filled for the year and we are off to the races (literally, today a hired tractor came from a nearby village to cut the grass on the athletic field—Monday the kids start ‘training’).
Life at the school this term is quite a bit different than last term. We are no longer the new people around and there is a noticeable change in how comfortable both the students and the teachers feel interacting with us as a result. Also, the feeling from last term is generally quite positive as 100% of our students passed their national examinations and we were listed in the Swazi Observer as one of the ‘Top schools in Swaziland’—not bad for being a remote school so ‘deep in the forest’.
After a lot of preparation over the school holiday, Rebecca has resumed her weekly classes in the library with all seven grades. They are having a blast reading stories and doing activities. So much fun that, whenever possible, I try to sneak in and join in with the kids.
In addition to welcoming back the older grades to the computer lab, I have started up classes all the way down to the first graders. Having six year olds learn how to use a mouse is challenging, but it is so exciting to see their faces when they finally get it right.
In addition to these classes, our principal and I have set aside one day each week where we make our way to our regional capital selling eggs along the way and purchase feed for the poultry project chickens—the system is working out quite well, and isolating the majority of sales to one day helps save on gas and make record-keeping so much easier. There is still no word on when the dairy cows may arrive—I am sure it will be a surprise when it does end up happening.
Our work with the OVC hostel children is still informal, but we’ve started to do some art projects with them in the afternoons and Rebecca even taught them a new song in English to share with the school during Chapel on Wednesday. Our hope is that now that both teachers have moved back into the hostel we can begin to set more regularly scheduled activities with the kids.
Besides our work at the school, the atmosphere before and after school is much more social this year. Whether we are playing with the kids before assembly in the morning or teaching one of the teachers how to play chess while hiding from the hot sun in the afternoon, we feel like we are really fitting in.
Thanks to some help and encouragement during Rebecca’s mom’s visit, we’ve given our garden another go (third time is the charm) and we’re starting to produce real food. We promise garden pictures with the next post, but just to prove our hard work is paying off this time, below is a meal containing almost 100% bo-Zornow products.
We added a little olive oil and balsamic as a dressing, but the rest came from right here… The lettuce, basil, and beans came from our garden and the eggs from our school chickens.
Lastly, over the past few trips to the office we have been able to transport all 7 of our packages from the past few months back home. Thanks everyone for thinking of us over the holidays, we sure did love opening all the Christmas goodies. Now time to start gaining some of that weight back.
Until next time,
Rebecca is reading: The Beauty Myth
Oliver is: playing on a seesaw