Saturday, July 5, 2014

Last Day at Kamanga

Our last day at Kamanga was sad, and it was hard saying goodbye to all of those sweet faces.  However, we made it a special day for the kids, and seeing their smiles warmed my heart.

The morning was interesting!  We had to exercise the skill teachers use most often...flexibility!  Since it was a Thursday, the Americans were coming to tour the school and see their short performance.  However, it was Camp week for some Kamanga kids, so about half of them were not in school this week.  The performance was supposed to begin around 9:30, so they had all of the kids come to school that day.  This meant that the morning group AND some of the afternoon kids were there!  We piled Grade 6 and Grade 2 (and a few Grade 1) kids into our classroom.  I quickly told Chewe that we would just do some buddy reading.  It turned out great!  The Grade 6 kids got to help the Grade 2 kids read a book from their reader, and then I had the Grade 6 kids choose a story to read to the Grade 2.  We made it work, and it ended up being a great experience for all of them.

How precious is this?  Big kids reading with a little Grade 1 student.
 We borrowed speakers from Kathryn, rigged them up in the office, and hung them out the window.  Mariah brought along a few of her favorite Camp Life songs, and she led the kids in singing and dancing out the window.  The kids remembered the songs from last year, and they would cheer as soon as the song came on and the recognized it.  They kept saying "One more song!" when we would tell them we had to stop.  Mariah did such a great job leading them, too.  She was completely at home doing her thing, and you could tell her heart was overflowing with joy!  Loved seeing God use her! :)  As they sang, Diana and I also got out the bubbles to play with.  They loved them!!  Looking across the courtyard, all you could see was pure happiness and excitement.  For a little while, those kids get to forget about everything else troubling them outside the walls of that school.  It is such a safe place for them, and I thank God that they feel protected and loved there.

so much joy as they sang!

Audrey is the deputy over 4 schools.  She is incredible!
She is well-educated, so put together, and just a beautiful lady.
She is doing great things for those schools!
She joined in on the singing of Camp Life songs with the kids on the last day.

At the end of the day, we had an assembly where we gave the teachers their gifts.  We gave them each a bag with an umbrella and extra teaching supplies such as stickers and notecards.  We also gave them each a class picture with us to hang in their classroom, and the biggest hit of all is the certificate saying they completed the Teach ONE mentoring.  They LOVE getting certificates and treasure them.  They mean so much to them!

We showed the kids what gifts they would be getting from each of us:  a bookmark that said Jesus loves you, a paper book, a mechanical pencil, and a lollipop.  They were overjoyed at every item!
sweet Andrew with his blessings 

  Some Grade 7 students sang a special goodbye song for us, but many of them had to stop singing because they started crying.  One girl even had her jersey over her head at one point.  It was emotional for all of us!
We let the kids go back to their classrooms so we could say our final goodbyes.  I handed out all of the "blessings" to the kids, and they were most excited about the books!  They were simple, paper books, but many of them probably have not had a book of their own.  They were SO excited when I told them they could color them if they had time sometime.  They were also so precious trying to figure out their mechanical pencils. We had to have a quick mini-lesson on how to use them, how to not break off the lead, etc.  They had never used one before.
showing off their new books, bookmarks, and pencils 

Rodrick (otherwise known as Lodrick with a Zambian accent!) :)  
Before leaving, I went around to each child and gave them a hug and told them I loved them.  I fought back tears because I didn't want them to start crying, as well.  It was very hard to say goodbye, though.  I am so thankful that God chose me to be a small part of their story.

Grade 2
one last picture before I had to go!
What an amazing 2 weeks it was with those kids.  In such a short time, I saw them blossom and grow.  I learned some of their stories.  I saw them become readers before my eyes.  I saw potential and hope.
I saw Jesus.

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