Friday, February 05, 2010

The First Day of School

Here I am, ready to share about VBS on Monday. 

Before I begin...  in other news, it would seem as though the whole "jet lag" thing has been an interesting concept in my life. On the way TO Africa, it did not affect me whatsoever. I switched over to African time without a problem, and I never felt better the whole week. On the way home, it wasn't so easy. It wasn't terrible, but what has happened is that I have become a complete morning person. This is when we know something has gone terribly awry. I am the night owl of all nights owls. I am known to stay up until after midnight and sleep in until the last possible moment the next morning. However, ever since my return from Africa, I have been in bed by 10:30 and wide awake between 5:30-7 am. It's crazy... but I kind of like it. I basically gain 3 more hours every morning. Do you know how much that can get done??

Anyway. Monday. *Opening up journal* So Monday- Heather was my trust alarm every morning, and she knew to get me up about 6:30 every time. We needed to leave the house by 7am in order to make it to the school by 7:30 (since we were walking), so this gave me just enough time to get dressed, grab my camera stuff, and eat a bowl of Bran Flakes.

Monday morning, it was very foggy out. There was a thin layer of cloud hanging thick above our head, but it was really pretty. It was cool out, but very pleasant. 

We exited the New Life Center via the front gate and started walking toward the school. I am sure we were a sight to see-- a big mob of white people walking down the streets of Zambia. As we walked, we would pass others on their way to work or other children walking to school. Every once in awhile, a truck or car would come FLYING by, and if you were lucky, they would honk. Otherwise, you would just have to hear it in time to clear the road or else there would be a high chance of getting hit and or grazed. The vehicles would come SO close! They move out of the way for no one.

There's a big roundabout on the way with brightly colored flowers. Other favorites of mine included a railroad and sign covered with spider webs, a very cool fence, a flower-petal lined curb, and some very cool trees. We saw all of these landmarks on our walks to and from the school everyday.

When we got within 5 minutes of the school, there was an increase in the amount of children on the road-- many were in uniforms, but a lot of them just fell into step beside us and gave us shy looks. We asked some of them where they were going and they said, "Lifesong."

"So are we!" We replied. Within 30 seconds, each of us had 5-6 kids holding our hands and walking right alongside us. 

Upon arrival to the school, I heard singing. When we turned the corner behind the school, all the kids were gathered into a huge group, but separated into lines by class. They sang beautiful songs in Bemba. As the week went on, we taught them quite a few new songs with motions that they loved. 

Every morning, John Mumba or one of the teachers would say, "God is good..."

and the children would shout, "ALL THE TIME!"

Then, "All the time..."

The children: "GOD IS GOOD!"

I love how that sounds. It's so true. It may sound like a simple saying but once I thought about it, I realize how very, very true it is, even when life isn't good. Life isn't always good, but God is. And we wonder sometimes how "a loving God can allow tough times to occur." As I sit here and type now and am back in the states, I know a family who is going through the trauma of cancer; their beloved mom is dying and will not be here much longer. Another family I know just lost a loved one to cancer. Why? We don't know. Today, as I was driving with my friend, though, I noted... There has to be a reason, a God-glorifying reason, that these things take place in our lives. And it's because God is good. God sees so much more than we do, and yet we try to understand everything by event, by circumstance, or by effect. We can't. We can't look at "she died of cancer" and equate that to an unloving or uncaring God, because in the grand scheme of things, that very circumstance may be orchestrated by God for the better good of so many and the bigger glory of Himself. It may not be something we understand now, or will ever fully see. But we know God is good, and that's what we must have faith in.

This is where I came to regarding Africa and all that I saw, as well. I saw situations that were sad. Kids who don't get fed for 2 days. Kids who don't have loving parents with their best interest at heart. Kids who are abused. Kids with no shoes to their name. Kids who sleep on a dirt floor every single night. And I found myself wondering... God is good? Of course He is. Because at the end of the day, I still saw joy on these kids' faces. I saw the love of Christ being shared with them by arms that held them, smiles that they received, and hands that were held. God is good, because ultimately, God is all we need in this life to sustain us. In the end, I had to note that these kids in their poverty seem to be better off in being closer to true joy than most Americans who have everything (that they think) they need.

Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Veering back on course... so, after singing is breakfast. Dru told us that on Monday mornings, a lot of the kids show up with stomach aches because they haven't eaten all weekend, and truly they're just hungry. They serve them 2 meals a day at school, breakfast and lunch, and they try to get protein in as much as they can. After breakfast is served and eaten, the kids would come with us out to the big soccer field and split up into (4?) groups ranging in age from 4-14. Each group had 2 group leaders (from our team) plus a Zambian teacher. The groups would sit together and watch the skit/lesson for the day. Monday was Leslie, Sheila, and Kent. They did a great showing of David & Goliath. 

After that, the groups would go into separate locations/classrooms for the group discussion and small group activity. The craft on Monday was for each child to color a puzzle piece. At the end of the day, the project was put together into a giant, beautiful puzzle that Leslie created and drew. It was so neat to see how each little brightly colored piece formed a big, beautiful picture.

There was always a break between our big group activity (out on the soccer field) and lunch, so a lot of times the kids would play soccer, do hand clapping games, or just hang out with us. On Monday, I remember sitting down and within seconds, I had 4-5 kids sitting on my lap, around me, and holding my hand. They will grab your arm and rub your skin. They think it's hilarious to press on it and watch it turn white, and then all the blood rushes back. Also, many hands were in my hair, touching it and feeling it, playing with it. They look at your fingers and count them, and they love to be near and feel love by touch.

Our team ate lunch everyday at the guest house on the school campus. We had PB&Js, chips, cookies, and juice. The juice there is actually a thick nectar that you have to dilute with water, but it's very tasty. 

After lunch, everyone broke up into their groups to go to class. I was lucky to be "floating" between all of these classes, and I found myself landing in the art class taught by Andrew. I absolutely loved it. He is one talented artist! He taught the kids how to paint 3 beautiful pictures by watercolor. It is amazing what he can do, and I was also thoroughly impressed with the kids and their works of art. Tony & Leah were in this class, and I know they enjoyed attempting to paint in the African style... most of the kids showed them up... but they did great. I talked to Andrew for a bit and he told me he was "an artist," and that "God has given me this gift, and I am glad to use it to teach the children."

School gets out at 3. We walked home after and had a lovely dinner of chicken curry. We hung out, played games, ate amazing stovetop popcorn, and headed to bed for Tuesday.

This got long. Sorry. Be back soon with Tuesday-Wednesday's VBS!

Love you all!



Kent said...

thanks for documenting the memories. i am enjoying reading everyone's blogs.

Leah Z. said...

Wow fun to read!!! Thanks. Can't wait for day 2.

Jill Foley said...

your tangents are amazing. I'm in a particularly difficult situation this week and I have just kept saying, "God is good...all the time". Then to come here and read that was like a "hug" from God!