Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day 13: Last Day at the School

July 5th
This was our last day at the Tree of Life school.  At the morning assembly, Teacher Sandra told the kids it was our last day, said some sweet things about us, and then had the kids pray for us.  It was so cool to hear them all praying out loud at once.  In the classrooms, we gave each teacher and class their gifts and a class picture.  They LOVED the picture ("snap").  They love to see themselves.  
Teacher Mwangala and Teacher Dennis

one of my Grade 4 classes
one of my Grade 5 classes
Teacher Mwangala opened each part of the gift and held it up for them to see.  They would smile and yell for each little thing.  They got the most excited about the colored pens!  :)  They started saying "Thaaaank yooou Teacher Ashhhhrey!"  Each teacher had a kid pray for me, and it was really sweet.  The kids all wrote precious notes, and I got a lot of hugs and "save travels", "I will miss you!", and "Will you be back in twenty-fourteen?"  So sweet!
video

After school, we went back to start packing up our suitcases then headed back to Tree of Life to see the opening of a new house.  While we waited on the new girls to come, we got a lot of hugs from the kids! They knew we were leaving the next morning.   
 

It takes $100,000 to build a new house at the Tree of Life.  Sometimes families get together to raise the support to build a house.  Tia's family worked together with 2 other families to build the Halleluja House, which was opening that day.  They already build Glory house, and they will be building the Amen house next:  Glory, Halleluja, Amen  :)  

All of the kids came to the new house to welcome the 12 new little girls moving in.  They got to go inside and explore all of the new things, their new beds, kitchen, bathrooms with running water, etc.  They all got bright pink shirts, cute denim shorts, and bright green headbands with flowers.  They looked precious!!  
Tia was so sweet to invite us in, and we got to see all of the cute decorations.  
The girls all gathered around the kitchen table to sing Happy Birthday to Hallelujah house and to eat cupcakes.  They were licking the cupcake wrappers clean!!  
One little girl who already lives at Tree of Life came over to the house and said that one of the new girls was her sister!  She had not seen her in a year!!  What a special reunion!  
The girls all looked so happy yet overwhelmed.  

A couple of them were in Grade 5, so I had them in class a few days before they moved in.  Before they move in, they stay at Chelstone (sp?) for a little bit which serves as a transition house to help them with some of the stress from their past and leaving home.  They start bringing them to school a few days before they fully move into the house to help them adjust slowly.  They were excited to see me since they have seen me in class all week.  I think it was nice for them to see a familiar face amidst all of the new people.   
one of my Grade 5 girls who just moved in! :)
When we got back on the van after the house opening, several kids followed us. It was the last time we would be at Tree of Life.  Waving goodbye was sad, but I had a hopeful feeling that I will see those kiddos again!

After the house opening, we went to dinner with Kathryn to celebrate our 2 weeks.  We went to Manda Hill, the mall in Lusaka.  I didn't even know Lusaka had a mall until we got there.  It was a stark contrast to where we had been all week.  We ate at a place called Mugg and Bean.  It had a coffee shop feel, and they had sandwiches, wraps, salads, burgers, etc.  It was really good!  It was nice to debrief together and to talk to Kathryn more.  We talked a lot about her job, what the schools need, etc.  I cannot imagine being in charge of 18 schools, 68 teachers, and about 3,500 kids!  I will be praying for someone to come alongside of her to help manage all that entails.

We also had to say goodbye to our driver, John that night.  He was wonderful!!  He always got us places on time, and he was so nice!

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