Friday, March 26, 2010

The challenges of English Class and Rain!


This has been a very good week! We got rain last Friday. Then it rained again a little on Tuesday night and then for about four hours on Wednesday. We also got rain Friday morning. So, while I was teaching my English class we had rain several times. This was very nice, but also created a few challenges.

Challenge #1 - Our building is made for the heat of Turkana. It is a very nice building and serves our needs very well. When it rains, however, the rain can come in the windows. We can shut the windows, but many of them are lacking the glass that would make this affective. This usually is not a problem since we get rain so seldom. So, we improvised in my classroom. We tied a mat woven from palm leaves over the window to keep the rain from coming in the room. This cut down on the amount of light in the room, but kept us a bit more dry. The mat is what the Turkana people make to sleep on at their homes.

Challenge #2 - When you get rain for a couple of days in a row, that means there hasn't been much sun. Our building has solar panels and batteries to supply some electricity. When we tied the mat to the window, we cut down the amount of light coming into the classroom. So, that meant we had to use the light in the classroom. Thankfully, we got enough sun on Tuesday to power our lights for the 4 hours it rained on Wednesday morning. The lights had been used the night before too, so there was some question in my mind about having the power to do that. But, God is good and the light lasted until the sun came out again.

Challenge #3 - Our building has a nice tin roof. There isn't much between that tin and our classroom - just a thin ceiling panel. So, when the rain came down hard it made quite a racket on the roof and in the classroom. Today I had to yell the words to a story we were reading. Thankfully, the hard rain only lasted a half hour or so today, so we made it through and I didn't loose my voice. On Wednesday, we were playing a gap game, so the students were able to talk loudly to each other and be understood. So, we managed even with the racket over and around us.

Challenge #4 - When it rains, the desert gets cold. Okay, you might not think that 73 degrees or so is cold. However, if you lived in the desert and were used to 98 - 100 degrees, then 73 degrees would be cold. Although, I loved the coolness of the rain, my students were very cold. So, they were huddled in their seats while it rained. They didn't turn blue, but they were quite cold. A couple of them got their light blankets that they use when sleeping and wrapped up in them. Of course, it didn't help that most all of them were a little damp from getting wet in the rain walking from the dinning area to the classroom. It isn't far, but when it is raining hard, you can get very wet very quickly. The good news was that the student were very alert since they were cold :).

Yes, rain brings challenges! Even so, it is such a blessing here. Each time my students prayed - even when cold and wet, they thanked the Lord for the rain. It even gave me an opportunity to ask them about the rain here. They were able to explain in English why the rain is such a good thing for them and their animals. I was very happy to be able to hold this fairly long conversation with them in English. This month marks the one year mark since our class began. This was our 11th class. Each class is only one week long, so they are doing very well. I was happy to see them communicate - a little disjointed, but they got their points across. So, the rain is a blessing even with its challenges!

Have a great week! I will make another post soon giving a bit more detail on the actual class :).

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