Sunday, June 11, 2017

Zambia - Wednesday and Thursday

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
It was another full day at school!  I taught the math lesson then watched as Wilson taught the same lesson.  He really picked up on a lot of the things I was showing him!  He did a wonderful job working out examples at a slower pace instead of just showing one on the board.  He also walked around to do some re-teaching instead of just marking the answers correct or incorrect and moving on to the next student.  I was so proud of him!!

I have loved getting to connect with kiddos this week, too.  Since I had 4 classes, I didn't feel like I could get to know them as much, but there were a few that God laid on my heart.  There are just these small moments when you look into their eyes and know that God has connected you in that time and place.  I would squeezed them tight and said, "You are beautiful.  You are special.  God loves you."  I encouraged them to stay in school and to work hard.  Those small moments are big, and they are rich.  Those moments will last a lifetime.

After school, we went back to the hotel to change then went to the Legacy Center for Education Night and dinner.  I got to hug Mariah for a minute which was great.  It is also fun to sit with our education staff friends who live there full-time.  I love the fellowship!

Thursday, June 30, 2016
It was a great day!  I'm so proud of the way that Wilson is teaching and for the care he is showing for his students.  Sometimes the amount of things I want to show them is completely overwhelming, but I have to remember what is most important and appreciate small steps.  One of our teachers, Karen, explained what God had been teaching her one day, and it resonated with me.  She said that we worry so much about our plans, and we can have the BEST plans in the world, but it isn't about that.  It's so much more.  We are called to loe.  The thing her teacher picked up on the most was how she interacted with the kids, and THAT is what it is all about!

We ended school early on Thursday so we could celebrate with all of the teachers.  It was such a special time!!  At the beginning of the week, Tia had given us all attributes of God to be looking for this week.  They included peace, near, faithful, loving, merciful, etc.  During our celebration time on Thursday, we went around and said what that attribute was.  Then, Tia took a polaroid picture of each of us, including the Zambian teachers.  She didn't tell us why.  We then had to write one word that would describe our partner on the picture.  I wrote "caring" for Wilson, and coincidentally, he wrote "caring" for me, as well!  We went around the room and shared why we chose that word, and the tears were flowing!  It was so sweet to hear everyone affirming each other and to hear what things they observed about each other.  It was a beautiful picture of God's love. I explained how I had noticed Wilson's gentle spirit and care for the kids.  He didn't just care about academics, but he also cared about their lives.  I saw growth in how he worked with kids who struggled, and I believe the kids know he is genuinely invested.

After we shared our words, the Zambian staff served us traditional Zambian food.  It was a meal of nshima, Chinese cabbage, and some kind of meat in a "soup".  You are supposed to eat it with your hands.  I think they got a laugh out of seeing us try to eat it.  I was able to stomach some, but it was definitely not my favorite! :)

Karen asked her teacher to show her how to eat it, and he pulled up a seat and started eating off of her plate!  It made me smile!!

We also gave the teachers our gifts.  We gave them 2 composition books, dry erase markers, pens, a certificate, and a Teach One shirt.  They LOVED the shirts and certificates!  We were also surprised when they brought out gifts for us!  It was so sweet!  They had them wrapped in construction paper.  Wilson gave me a necklace made of dyed beans.  A lot of the girls received chitenges or necklaces.

After our celebration, we headed back to the Legacy Center.  We had a little time to visit houses and take a tour of the Tree of Life school and new secondary school.  I was able to see a lot of the students I had in Teach One 2013!  That was so good for my heart!  They remembered me!  I visited Teacher Mwangala's room, too.  She is as beautiful as ever, and she continues to be a great teacher.  I also ran into George from 2014!!  He was the one who stole our hearts at Kamanga!  I loved seeing his smile!!

On the playground afterwards, I heard one of the boys say something to a group of boys about "Teacher Ashrey".  When they saw me, they said "Oh!!  Teacher Aaaaassshhhhhrrreeeeyyy!"  It melted me!  This was how they said my name in 2013.  It was just a simple reminder of the impact we have, even if only for a short around of time.  I needed that reminder.  My God is faithful.  I loved giving them all hugs!

Thursday night, Amanda came for dinner at our hotel and brought another girl who works on staff, Kylee.  After dinner, we decided to sit outside by the pool and talk.  It was me, Amanda, Kylee, Tia, Alicia, Allison, and Kathlin.  At one point, Tia went inside to get a blanket.  While she was gone, we moved couches so we wanted to be sure she saw us.  Allison and I looked up and saw a lady wrapped in a blanket looking around and both thought it was Tia.  I waved her over and called out her name.  Amanda quickly said, "Umm...that's Asian Tia!"  It was definitely not our Tia.  We died laughing and literally could not stop for a few minutes.  It was the kind of laughing where you cannot breathe and tears roll down your face, the soul-refreshing kind.  Once we composed ourselves, we looked up to see the real Tia trying to get out the glass doors, going from one to the other, giving up.  This only made us laugh more.  Amanda finally sent in the waiter to rescue her.  It was just too funny!  We now affectionately call her Tia Chong.  :)  We sat outside and talked for awhile, enjoying the beautiful night and company.  Those are the small life moments that matter, getting to know people better and laughing until it hurts.  

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