Monday, December 23, 2013

Have Yourself a Merry Little...

Christmas. In Africa. What a blessing!

It's been incredibly busy these past couple of months. We hired a School Administrator, Head Teacher, three other teachers, a groundskeeper, and day guard. We ran into some personal and professional problems with our Admin and had to make a difficult decision to let them go. We had several families meander in with kids, some families without, and all wanted to barter the price of tuition while their children gave us blank stares (they didn't know English, nor the national language, nor were they very responsive to our basic Somali). We had money troubles with the bank in the States, refusing to transfer money to Kenya. Which in turn gave us trouble with the furniture, textbook, and school supply people in getting our stuff in time before all the companies took their holiday.

Registration forms have been printed, student and teacher handbooks written, uniforms designed and displayed, syllabi purchased from the MOE, curricula made, to do lists were conquered, and errands were run. Even so... we all feel like we've forgotten something. Perhaps the cook, who isn't hired yet.

The ESL school has been booming! We doubled our attendance since last term and almost doubled in our inquires since this term. My students did phenomenally well, all who stayed the full course passed with A/B averages. They were incredibly proud of their certificates of completion which we handed out on the 19th. It was a wonderful, yet informal, ceremony complete with lunch, jokes, and lots of pictures! I may not be teaching my class come January because my work at the Primary School is a full time job, but I know they will be in good hands.

Christmas shopping is a new experience in Kenya. There are still the usual questions of "what to get so-and-so" and "when do I plan my shopping day(s)" plus the added "who would even sell this" and "where can I get this without paying five times the price it's worth" to answer. House wares and furniture tastes are different here.... pinterest has helped me a lot in some of my decorating and creation.

We found some toys for our next door neighbor's kids and the young boy found his present by accident. As a result, rumor has spread throughout the whole complex that the muzungus (white people) bought gifts for all their neighbors. We hope the built-up anticipation doesn't end in disappointment on Christmas morn.

Today we plan to invite a friend over for late lunch (a visit which will most likely last till evening if she comes at all) and visit the school to collect some pre-registration fees from our ESL students. Tomorrow will be our "girls only Christmas party" where the girl students and neighbors in our apartment complex will enjoy some cookie decorating, dancing, and singing. The following day will be the BIG Day!

I can't believe how quickly this year has gone and especially how these past couple months have flown. It's exciting and wonderful to be here, working and living with our wonderful neighbors and students. We love the relationships we have, and we hope they continue to grow as the days go by.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! We love you!

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