“Safariing”

July 21, 2010 - 2 Responses

Kari, Becca, and I are now in Nairobi after a wonderful safari trip in the Serengeti. We really got to worship God by seeing how amazing his creation is.  I was reminded of Psalm 104. It is a great chapter to read if you are ever out enjoying nature. Since I don’t have enough time to type out the whole chapter I will just leave you with verses 20-22 and some pictures (the pictures may have to wait until I return to the States due to lack of internet connectivity).

You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl.  The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.  The sun rises and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens.  Psalms 104: 20-22

 

Teaching Tanzanian Style

July 13, 2010 - 4 Responses

The schools in Tanzania are quite different the schools in the States. There are no Smartboards, computers, TV’s, dry / erase boards, library, manipulatives  or overhead projectors. Each class might have 2 or 3 posters but for the most part the walls are bare. The have one glue bottle for each class to share and  when they need scissors they check them out from the main office as they have only one set for the whole school to use (they do the same thing for the one set of dictionaries they have). Each class probably has 20 or 30 books they share for independent reading time (my personal classroom has about 350 books plus the library down the hall they can go to anytime to check out a book). This may seem depressing but I tell you that every one of the students at that school loves being there and they are so grateful for what they have.

The teachers become certified after a 6 month program or they could continue on to the two-year program.  Almost all instruction is oral. The students have a composition book for each subject which they use to copy down what the teacher is saying. For English class the teacher will write words on the board and the students will copy them down and draw a picture next to each word. The headmistress has encouraged us to introduce the teachers to more hands-on interactive learning strategies and we have been so welcomed in the classrooms (for all those Prince William County teachers reading this, I did an “Investigations” math lesson on multiplication word problems and I also modeled a Jan Richardson small reading group). The school has stacks of construction paper that was donated years ago but it has never been used because the teachers don’t know how to incorporate into their classroom lessons. We are actually doing a “Foldable” workshop for the faculty later this week to give the teachers some ideas on how to use it.

Another interesting fact about East African schools; every public school gets religion or Christianity instruction. The Kenyan  curriculum states that every school will teach Christian  Education. In Tanzania they get to choose what religion and even denomination class they want to take. The missionary wife we are working with here in Arusha actually goes to a public school once a week to teach a Baptist Christianity class. Even students that have never gone to church will chose this class. I find it quiet interesting that teachers have more FREEDOM to share their beliefs about God here than in the States.  Our Nation has strayed so far. It does make me realize how great they need me in the diverse population of DC.

In addition to teaching in the mornings at the school we are also teaching an adult ESOL (English as a Second Langauge) class in the evening. It has been a real blessing getting to know our adult students. They are so eager to learn! We have been having each class memorize a verse from a Psalm in English. Every day they come to class with the verse ready to recite and by the end of the week my class will know all of Psalm 23 in English. Tonight I am bring stuff to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and they are going to have to give me directions in English on how to make it. They are quite excited about eating them afterwards. Another bonus is that the three of us are learning quit a bit of Swahili. 🙂

Masai Village

July 3, 2010 - 6 Responses

Last Monday we were invited to travel to a Masai village with another local missionary team and we quickly accepted. It was a very bumpy dusty trip there but a beatuiful landscape. We stopped and ate lunch at a small place right outside of the village and after having a delicious meal of goat meat and rice (it really was delicious but I didn’t know it was goat meat until after I ate it) we headed to the village. We could see the Masai walking their heards from their small little huts from the distance. Once we got into the village we were motioned into a small mud church building. Even though it is uncommon there is a small group of Christians from this particular village. In the past the Masai frowned upon education and the church because they thought it would ruin their culture since they pray to their ancestors but because of the missionary influences some have converted and are accepting Christ as their savor. We witnessed them worshiping in song and dance in their tribal tongue and we also sang some praise songs and shared testimonies. We taught them the song “I’m trading my sorrows” and it was such a blessing to be able to praise God with them. As we were all singing, hands raised and jumping up and down, it was a little glimpse of what heaven will be like;  every tribe, every nation, & every tongue uniting together in the kingdom of heaven to give God the glory.

Loving Africa

July 1, 2010 - 8 Responses

Things here in Arusha, Tanzania are going great. We haven’t had too much luck with internet unti now. It looks like it will be easier getting online when we are in Kenya then in Tanzania (Kilimanjaro blocks the signal). God has really blessed the missionary school we are working at. This is just an update to let everyone know things are going well. I will write a longer post later. 🙂

So who is the Teacher Trio?

June 24, 2010 - 5 Responses

 

Three female teachers from  Prince William County, VA met in February 2010 to discuss the idea of traveling to East Africa this summer to do a mission’s trip to educate the impoverished children of Kenya and Tanzania. Kari Wilson, Rebecca Cole, and Katie Futrell decided to take a leap of faith and go to the “ends of the earth” to share God’s love to the “least of these”

Becca and Kari were on the same missions team that traveled to Tanzania where they hiked Kilimanjaro last summer. Although they  experienced the thrill of summitting the mountain, they discovered much more on this journey. The Holy Spirit awakened their hearts to the needs of the children of Tanzania. Kari knew she was called back to serve at the missionary school they worked at in Arusha. She began to think and plan of ways to get back. 

Katie was blessed to be placed on a missions team that went to Kenya in 2009. It was something she dreamed about doing since she was a child. While there she got the confirmation that missions and working Africa was her calling and would be a part of her future. She too began to think of ways to get back to Africa to help serve Christ by teaching. Upon her return, her team started a non-profit organization called David’s Hope International.

David’s Hope International is a Christ centered awareness and fund raising organization created to serve those who live in extreme poverty. Their vision is to create lasting solutions for the physical, educational, emotional, and spiritual needs of abandoned children in the poorest communities of the world. We have been amazed at how God is blessing this organization. We have been able to raise enough money to send over to the local pastor, Steve Njenga for a water tank, land and supplies to start a new school and feeding center. Education is not free in Kenya and they are desperate for quality educators and that is where the Teacher Trio comes in.

We will be flying out tomorrow evening and will spend close to seven weeks in Tanzania and Kenya. The first three weeks will be working in a missionary school in Arusha, Tanzania teaching ESOL and teacher development. The last three weeks Katie and Kari will be going to Eburru, Kenya the small remote village that David’s Hope has been focusing on and Becca will be returning home.

We have decided to start this blog in hopes that we would be able to draw a picture in the minds of our friends and family back home  of what life is like in the desperate  situation in these countries. Oddly enough, Eburru has no running water, electricity or toilets, but they do have a cell tower so Lord willing we will have an internet connection (via Safarinet WiFi card).   Katie will be the main author of the blog,  although she is hoping to talk Kari and Becca into doing some posts as well! We can’t promise a work of literary merit as I (Katie) “don’t write too good” nor have I ever done this blogging thing  before.  🙂