Archives for 2013
I was asked the other day why I don’t walk around taking pictures of things in Gracias. The answer is two fold. I don’t take pictures around Gracias because this is my town, my neighbors, the people I live along side. I don’t want to be seen as a tourist or embarrass the people of Gracias. The second reason is because it all seems very normal to me now. When I walk with people who don’t live here and I begin to see the odd things all over again but usually seeing 4 people on one motorcycle just seems normal. That being said, sometimes we have experiences that are not normal- even here. Today was one of those days. We were in town running some errands and the rains came down and down and down. When it rains a lot the streets turn into a little river but I still needed to go to the store. Emma and I ran from one store to the next in the little river through town and then suddenly I realized I was missing something. The river had torn the bottom of my flipflop off, leaving only the part that goes between my toes. Did I chase what was left of my shoe down? No. Did Shannon chase it down for me? No, he took my picture.
I always know that I am blessed but sometimes I feel it more. This time was because of God’s care for Emma. She has been running fever for about 3 days now but our choices for medical care are pretty limited. Most of you know of our experiences with the hospital and so you know that we REALLY don’t want to repeat those. Also, the doctor, Melissa, who has done house calls for us the last two years moved back to the capital city. However, just as Melissa moved God brought Alemar into our lives. He has become a good friend of ours through a series of events. Alemar works as a microbiologist in a private clinic here. He attempted to do lab work on Emma today, while she kicked and screamed (literally). Then he decided that since he didn’t want her to be upset he would prick her finger and try the test that way. He charged us nothing for all this drama. Then he called Melissa with the lab results, tracked down a doctor to exam Emma and went with us to see her. After we were told what medicine we needed, he went to the pharmacy with me to get the medicine. Emma has to have a follow-up blood exam tomorrow but Alemar, along with the whole clinic, is leaving for Guatemala tomorrow so he is coming to the house at 6:30 to take her blood, run to his lab and test it all before he leaves at 7:15. He will then call Melissa and the other doctor with the results to make sure they both agree on what to do. Yep, I say that God not only is taking care of our needs but has blessed us with Alemar and great medical care, far beyond my expectations.
After a very long and hard year I am excited to say graduation is here!!!!
I had 35 kids in my class (at one point 37 kids); 20 boys and 15 girls. For those of you who don’t know, anytime you have 20 boys in one room, there is chaos. I am glad to say I have survived though and even learned some lessons through these kids. Here are a few…
Lesson #1 from Joseph
-It is no fun to be the one polishing the silver but when it begins to shine you realize it was worth it all.
Joseph has been in my class for a year and half which has been plenty of time to teach me many lessons. It was not fun to be the one to teach him to eat with silverware, or to chase him down when he ran away from school. It was not fun to teach him females could be his authority and that singing “sexy lady” to the girls in the class was not appropriate. It was not fun to teach him not to bite and lick me- oh wait, I am still trying to teach that to him. It was not fun to try to teach him to read and write when he would only sit in his chair for about 3 minutes. It was not fun to teach him how to walk in a line without plowing over everyone or to play with out hurting the other kids. However it has been fun to watch him shine. He went from being unable to write his name to being able to read and speak whole sentences in English. It is heart warming to see him run and hug me and pick me up (yes, he is that big). He has brought me to tears many times because of his caring and loving heart and the way he helps his classmates. The first six months in my class he made me miserable BUT he is now one of my favorite students. You never know what is under all the dirt until you begin to polish but every child is worth the effort and Joseph has taught me that.
Lesson #2 from Maycol
-Osmosis is possible.
He has slept through the majority of his year and half in my class and through no effort on his part he has somehow managed to learn to read. This has restored my belief in osmosis.
Lesson #3 from Kevin
– Big personalities come from little people.
One of the smallest in my class, this child has alternately made me laugh and want to ring his little neck. He has the longest stories in the world and continues to talk even in his sleep. He can make himself throw-up on command if he doesn’t like the food being served. On the other hand, he has the brightest smile, says the funniest things and is very wise for such a little man. He told me all year that he couldn’t obey me because he didn’t understand English and then one day he got a funny look on his face and said, “Huh, I guess I understand English now.” I am still waiting for him to obey though.
Lesson #4 from Hellen (and every other 5 year old)
-The cutest kids are those with no teeth.
Such a cute age between babyhood and being a big kid. That time passes so quickly before they lose that innocent look and begin to mature. I love this age!
Lesson #5 and #6 from Cesar
– Patience in a virtue and I need practice in it.
– Yelling never works, bribing rarely does but that “mom” look is very powerful.
Some kids are by nature very compliant and others are not. I will let you guess where Cesar falls. I have learned that while I have always considered myself to be patient with children, one can never have too much practice in the area. He has also reinforced what I already knew but on occasion forgot- children do not like to obey when they are yelled at or spoken rudely to any more that we adults do. This is lesson I hope to never forget. Children are little people too and despite their short comings, they should be treated with respect and love.
Lesson #7 from Mario Jose
-Never underestimate the quite child.
Mario Jose is one of those children that is would be easy to overlook. He is usually in his seat, rarely talking when I am, never fights and in general is just a good kid. When I’m wrestling with a class full of children the quiet ones who need just a little extra help are often overlooked and are destined to fail. This child however wanted to learn and would ask for help when he didn’t understand something. He would wait patently for me to come to his chair and check his work because he wanted it to be correct. He has become quite the reader and is ready for first grade.
Lesson #8 from Sarah
-Parents are an extremely important part of a child’s life and education.
Despite the fact that I spend more waking hours with these children that their parents do, I will never have the influence that a parent has. When I had my first conference with Sarah’s mom, she was failing phonics. Her mother went home and worked with her and within weeks she was reading. She is one of my top students and the sweetest kid ever. This has taught me that while I am very thankful for the teachers that pour their time into my own children, I am and will always be one of the biggest influences in my children’s education and in their lives. It is my responsibility to insure success in my kids; to push them to succeed and encourage them and help them when they are failing.
Lesson #9 from Rosybeth
-Never give up.
Rosybeth has been in my class for a full two years. Last year she watched me intently but it just wasn’t clicking. She didn’t know one letter from another, couldn’t write her name and understood nothing that I said but she tried hard. She never complained even when making zeros on almost every paper. I kept her in from recess, gave extra tutoring and still she wasn’t learning. After two years of perseverance she can write well, speaks the best English in the class and can read!!! I am so proud of how hard she worked and never gave up trying to do everything I asked of her. In the US she would probably qualify for Special Education but we don’t have that here. All we have is a child who must work hard and continue to struggle through school but with perseverance she will be succeed. What she lacks in natural ability she makes up for in effort. Never give up. We can all learn, it just takes some of us longer. Or maybe it just takes some us having a class of 20 boys and 15 girls to learn some lessons.
We have all read the story of Hannah, who could not have children. She prayed and wept bitterly before the Lord and he listened, giving her the son Samuel. After praying and hearing assurances from the priest, she left the temple and “went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” While this story is used for illustrative purposes in many sermons and with lots of different points, I want to share a story very similar to Hannah’s. Her name is Mrs. Dunia. Mrs. Dunia teaches high school Social Studies at our school and is one of the most well liked teachers. She has been married for several years but does not have kids. As everyone knows, as soon as you are married people begin asking when you are going to have kids. Someone asked Mrs. Dunia this at the begining of the school year and I was shocked at her answer. She said that she had been trying for years and had not been able to get pregnant. BUT that she was praying one day and had a dream. God told her that she would be pregnant by the end of this year. Now I am all for prayers and for sharing when God answers them but I severally lack faith in God’s time table. I would never had told people that I would be pregnant within a year because frankly, I would just wait until God proved himself. Mrs. Dunia however had the faith of Hannah, she went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad because she believed God was in the process of answering her prayers. I began watching the calendar for her, thinking “only two more months till this school year is over. Hurry up God. Your going to make a liar out of sweet Mrs. Duna.” Yes, I realize that is not very “missionarly” of me but it truly what I thought on many occasions. But of course, God’s timing is perfect and thankfully he disregarded my lack of faith for Mrs. Dunia’s faith. She announced yesterday that she is pregnant and God has answered her prayers. She is a great example of a modern day Hannah who said in 1 Samuel 1:27 “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.”