|Jewel and Monica|
One of my other students (Jewel) wrote me a note that said, “Ms. Gretchen, you are my favorite teacher in this whole wild world!” I thought is was pretty funny.
So I am single handily feeding all the little varmints of Nigeria! It started about two weeks ago when I had my students make some seed collages. They turned out very nice, and as any teacher would do, I hung their work around the room. Actually, it was a very nice touch and I was really enjoying having their work up. Then I slowly began to notice that collages were losing all of their seeds. Interestingly though, there were no seeds on the ground. I also began to notice these very small beetles in all of my textbooks. They were very interesting and always seemed to be playing dead. Well, at any rate, we decided that a rat was most likely the cause of our disappearing seeds. So I finally decided we should send the seed collages home over the weekend. Well, yesterday morning, one of my girls walks into class and goes, “Miss a rat!!” I looked up in time to see a six inch tall and half a rats butt sticking out of a hole in the ceiling. As you can imagine, this soon became the story of the morning! When we came in for class today (Friday), I notice some more beetles. So I finally asked Mrs. Joke (pronounced Jo-ka) what they were, to which she says, “Oh they are a beetle from some of the seeds.” Great! So the seed collages were also attracting beetles into our classroom! You have no idea how excited I was to send these collages home. As I am handing them back to my students one of the boys says, “Aw Ms. Gretchen, do I have to take mine home? I want to keep feeding the rat.” Oh my, of course you have to take it home, even if we are in Nigeria we are not having a class rat as a pet!
Tonight we had a dinner together with all the other staff that live in our compound. So Karen brings out some nice pizza and suya (goat on a stick) for us to enjoy. Then she also brings out a Nigerian delicacy. I have to say I am not a fan of delicacies from other cultures. They always seem to be the only thing you really don’t want to try. Anyways, it was basically goat head with some bitter herbs. You just stick your fork in and then play, guess what I am eating. Your options are: nose, eye, teeth, skin, tongue, well you get the picture, basically anything that is in the head of a goat. I am still not sure exactly what part I got, I am thinking it was some type of cartilage though. The Nigerians among us were all in, while the Americans all took one bit, which was more than enough. Ethel, who was sitting right across from me, was just enjoying the food, when she pulls a small part of the jaw bone (with teeth still attached) out of her mouth. Yes, I don’t think I will be ordering this meal anytime soon.
Well, some of you may be wondering how the actual teaching part of my time in Nigeria is going. I will say that I am enjoying it, while at the same time, spiritually it is pushing me to the point of dependence on God. I have known in my head that I am dependent on God, but I don’t always live my life in this reality. So it is actually really refreshing to realize how much I need God and to feel Him close. This morning for example, I walked into my classroom and just realized I didn’t have the strength for the day. I just stopped and prayed for wisdom, strength, patience and encouragement. Then next thing you know, one of my students walks in with a little note for me and some of her hair-clips that she wanted to give me, it was the exact encouragement that I needed.
This week my prayer really has been for more patience and understanding of my students as individuals. There are about four boys who are constantly in and out of their chairs and shouting out. One of them is Mr. Drama King! Literally, I am drawing on the board apologizing to my students for the poor drawing when Atofarati chirps in with, “Ms. Gretchen it doesn’t matter, whatever you draw is beautiful!” “Ok, thank you Ato.” Then next thing you know he is shouting out, so he gets a consequence, then the waterworks start! “No Ms. Gretchen I beg you! I will listen.” (He can turn on the tears almost as fast as he stops them :) Five minutes later he has forgotten and shouts out again, and the process repeats itself. While it might sound slightly comical (which it is) it can also be draining on your patience. So this is when I start praying for more patience. Yet, I have begun to think, one of the best ways to grow in an area, such as patience, is to be tested in that area. So maybe God is really listening to my prayers, because I am sure being tested :)
I am really growing to love my students, and the more I get to know them, the more I am concerned for their salvation. Last Friday we went on a class outing. So I gave my students a lecture before hand, that because they were wearing school uniforms, they would be representing ACA when they went out. Yet, more importantly, because it says American Christian Academy on their shirt, we would be representing Christ and Christians. Well, one of my girls looks down at the label on her shirt, almost as if it is the first time. She gets a frown on her face and says, “But I am not a Christian.” She seemed genuinely upset to have to be representing Christians. It was slightly funny that this was the first time she noticed what her shirt said. Yet, it was also sad. We have a short devotional every morning and Bible once a week. Rida will participate in all of these events because the rest of the class does. She will in fact pray for the class, and contribute answers, yet, she is a Muslim. It made me realize that even my students who are “Christian” may not have relationship with God. They maybe able to go through the motions without having anything there. So I would really appreciate prayer for their salvation, especially Rida, as I believe she will be returning to India come the end of the term (December).
Well, this is the end of my long post! I will say, there is never a dull moment in second grade!
|Going on an outing! Left to right: |
Angel, Oreofe and Mridul
|Enobong and Toba|
|Building shelters: Lisa, Harris, Rida and Jewel.|
|Atofarati and Lily|