Monday, November 21, 2011

Investing in a future generation

So, in the last blog I told you about how we're investing in the elderly. In this blog, I wanted to mention how we're getting involved with the youth. In early October, we were encouraged by our supervisor to think of other ways of getting involved in our local community. Since the Timu village school has no formal teachers (only parents who volunteer their time for free), we decided that we could come up with lessons and start a bit of teaching at the school. Kate has been doing English lessons. The kids are very receptive and always find something to laugh about. I think they've really enjoyed having an interactive teacher instead of learning every lesson by rote. For those of you who aren't familiar with rote education, it's basically when the teacher says something and the students repeat the sentence over and over until it is memorized. Below, Kate is teaching the kids some action words. She is telling them to 'come here'. After she has demonstrated the action while saying it, she will have someone come to the front and will instruct them to do something. Then the child will be the instructor and have another child come to the front, telling them to do something. A very effective method for learning. One of the first English lessons was the appropriate greetings to use. She is teaching them 'Good morning' below.
After all of the interactions, Kate will write the new English words on the board and the children will copy the words down in their little blue notebooks. They get pretty excited about writing new words. Many days she will give them an assignment and if they've done the assignment by the next class period, she will reward them with a pen or notebook (both of which is highly valuable in this classroom).
And these are the excited learners...well, maybe it was a 'down' day. They usually look happier to see us. Some days no teachers come to school and the children end up spending hours just sitting in this classroom, writing anything and everything down. They are truly eager to learn. But this school is not accredited by the government yet and no formally trained teachers have been sent to Timu. In order for that to happen, they will have to get officially registered and someone will have to build teacher housing (since none of the Ik who live here are trained teachers). There will also need to be Ik translators for those teachers, who will not speak the Ik language. And at this point, the children know little English so the teacher will not get the point across on his own. Then those translators will have to be paid from some budget that doesn't currently exist. It's a complicated issue but we are still praying that a teacher will find his way to this school and will start empowering our children through education.
These are the new desks that were kindly donated by friends of ours at Powhatan Mennonite church in Virginia. We are not the only ones investing in the lives of these Ik.
Many children really care about their studies like the one above. Lucia Lemu (below) is a bright girl who has just started going to school. She usually has to help her mother with chores at home but recently she's been given more freedom to attend. The story is the same for many of the girls. You'll notice in my pictures that most of the students are boys. Interestingly enough, many statistics say that the women are the majority of 'bread-winners' in Africa. They are the ones who figure out how to provide for their families even when living in abject poverty. Who knows what educating a woman will do for this society?
Kitella (below) is starting early with her education. Many of the girls have to bring their wards to school with them because the mother's are too busy to care for small children and do the bulk of the household chores.
Before I go, I just want to publicly thank Kate for investing with us in the future generation. She's graciously and lovingly given her time to these children and they are all learning much from her. She will be remembered well!

1 comment:

Rich and Sally Hofman said...

Maraŋa: "GOOD" is the word that Kate is pointing to as she teaches these students how to say "Good Morning" in English, and a very GOOD job she has done in teaching them these past several months, just one of the many GOOD works which the Lord prepared for her to do among the Ik☺. Please let her know, before she leaves, of our own gratitude for everything she has done among this people we love. Ilakasuƙotia zuk "THANK YOU VERY MUCH", dear Kate☺☺!!
Much love in Christ, Rich and Sally