Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wind and Dust! Tis the season.


It is that time of year again.  It seems like it is a bit early, but it has definitely started.  Dust storm season is upon us here in Turkana land.  UGH!  Today it has been very windy.  When I look out my back window I can see a couple of houses and dust just hanging in the air.  My floors and all surfaces are coated with it.  I can wash the table and 15 minutes later need to do it again.  The noise can be quite fierce as well.

It is early in the season, so hopefully this dusty wind will slow and stop before to much longer.  Often we have the dust in the mornings but the afternoons clear up.  That is what I am hoping for today.  Why do we have these dusty days?  It is a desert and there isn't much rain or vegetation to keep the dirt on the ground where it belongs.  Usually from Nov to Feb or so, we have these storms.  Some days I can't even see the houses across the road.  Oct - Dec can be the months of the short rains, but we haven't gotten any yet this year.  So, I think that is why it seems early.  I am glad I didn't decide to do laundry today!  I have to choose those days carefully during these months :).

While many of my readers are "enjoying" the winter months, I will be "enjoying" the dusty months.  I have gotten used to them, but it can play havoc with electrical equipment.  I have learned to keep things covered as much as possible.  The creepy crawlies come out with the winds too.  Scorpions, spiders and snakes all seem to thrive in these winds.  So, I keep a lookout for them.  This dust can be a nusance, but it has a certain beauty as well.  I am reminded about Jesus' comments about the wind and the Holy Spirit during these dusty blasts.  Sometimes I am amazed at the different colors of brown and red the sky can be in the midst of and at the end of these winds.  God can use even nusance winds to create beauty in this world!

So, enjoy the season you are in.  I will endeavor to enjoy mine as well.  Stop and thank God for it and look for the blessings in the season!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Hope!


My English class last week was all about "The Hope" movie.  I found this program online.  It uses a movie to teach english.  It tells the story of the Bible and has three narrators with different english accents telling the story.  It has a lot of "big" words in it, so I wasn't sure how my students would do.  There are 15 lessons that correspond with 15 parts of the movie.  So, I decided to try it and see how they would do.

They loved it!  We did the introduction and the first part of the first chapter.  The words are hard to understand, but there are several computer games and helps to help the student begin to understand the meanings of the words.  I did have a Turkana help me translate it too, so that helped a lot.  Try explaining the meaning of words like complexity, mystery, depth of human joy and pain, recorded, preserved, eternal proportions, amazingly and extraordinary in english let alone another language.  Those were a few of the words in the introduction.  They are concept words that are a bit hard to explain, but the students began to understand the ideas as we worked through the various parts of the lesson.  I was very happy with their progress.  After working through the lesson, they were happy to be able to understand the introduction during their second viewing.

When I showed them Chapter one, they got really excited.  It is about creation.  They were excited to see all the different insects and animals - especially the african ones.  Most of them have never seen these animals in person, so it was fun for them to see them and even hear some of the noises they make.  This movie has a fairly decent job of visualizing God making the earth out of nothing.  It also does well with him making Adam out of dust.  It even showed it taking place in an area with lots of sand - so they could relate to that.  :)  We will do the bulk of the lesson activities in our November class.  I am hoping we can finish chapter 1 and 2 for that class.  It will be Nov 8-13.

I am glad to have found this resource.  I am getting to the end of our current textbook and was wondering what to use next.  So, this will last for a few months as we work through the whole movie.  I am including some work with grammar for these lessons too, as they need help in using the correct forms when they speak.  I am really excited that this gives them a lot of opportunities to discuss things in class. They already know the Bible pretty well, so it is something they can talk about and really get into it.  It is also something they will need to be able to talk about and read about in the future too, as they use English Bible teaching aids.  So, I am happy with the progress made this past week and am looking forward to using this for the next few months of class.

This program comes with computer activities as part of the lesson.  I have access to two computers that I can use while teaching.  I had an educated Turkana man come and help me for a couple of days and was able to divide the students into two groups so they could do some individual (with others looking on) work.  When that man had to leave or when we were all one group, I used a projector connected to a computer to display the image on a wall and a large speaker for the sound.  It worked pretty well since the class is only 12 students right now.  As long as we have power, it will be a good class :).  I am praying that we continue to have power for the weeks of my class!  Thanks to my friends and fellow missionaries here in Lodwar (Keshule, Ali, Theo and Kaby) for helping me to get these things working correctly.  I tried to connect my TV to my computer but we couldn't get it to work in color.  It has something to do with my computer being NTSC and my TV being multi-system.  We couldn't get it to work, so I had to switch to the projector and speakers which was a bit more complicated but worked well.

How about you?  Have you tried any fun new things at work or home lately?  I would love to hear about them.  Thanks for reading my blog and for your prayers!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Homecoming Uncle Larry!


Today in Indianapolis, my extended family is gathering to remember and say goodbye to my Great Uncle Larry Pottenger.  He died on September 20th and was 93 years old.  He was my Grandpa's brother (in case you don't remember what a "great uncle" is).  I wish I was there with them.  So, I will write this little blog to honor him.

Uncle Larry was a sweet and patient man with me as I was growing up.  He worked at the family nursery - Pottneger Nursery and Landscape Co.  He was a landscape architect who studied with Frank Lloyd Wright.  I didn't know that as a child.  I knew that he cared enough to find out what my favorite flower was.  He gave me some Lilies of the Valley to plant in our yard and spent the time to tell me how to take care of them.  (I didn't inherit the family green thumb - those flowers never did very well)  I remember dancing on his shoes when I was really little :).  He and Aunt Ellen had a beautiful house in the woods.  They even fed the racoons that would come around.  I thought that was really cool!  When I was grown and went to visit them, I discovered their house was in a neighborhood, but it still looked like the woods to me.  Maybe that was due to my uncle's landscaping artwork in his own back yard.

I found out that he designed and supervised the landscaping of the Indianapolis Zoo and the Monument Circle Tree Planting and Beautification in 1960.  He also worked on beautifying several homes and gardens in the Indianapolis area.  It is amazing the things you learn about someone after they are gone.  Even so, that wasn't the important stuff.  The important thing was that I knew he loved me.  He cared about his family and friends.  When it comes right down to it, if others can say that you loved, then that was a life well lived.  Uncle Larry loved with all his heart.

And so, today with my family, I say goodbye for now.  Have a very happy homecoming with our Lord, Uncle Larry.  Have a great reunion with your parents and Grandpa & Grandma, Uncle Dick, Aunt Doris & Uncle Johnny, and Aunt Miriam & Uncle Bill.  You all have a great big party with the Lord and when the rest of us come we will join in the celebration!

Saturday, October 16, 2010



Why is it when you make plans to do something, inevitably something else comes up and keeps you from doing it?  This week it has been one thing after another that has kept me from my plan for the week.  Okay, maybe not the whole week, but it sure seems that way looking at it from the end of the week.  I wonder what I did this week, since I didn't get done what I wanted to get done.  Do you have weeks like that?

I was supposed to work on my next english lesson.  The class is next week.  I have worked on it some, but I still feel like there is so much to do and it is Saturday night already!  One problem is that I am trying to do a movie based ESL lesson this next week.  It is a really cool program that I have had and wanted to use.  I decided to start it this next week.  It tells the story of the Bible in about 14 lessons - as a movie with ESL activities to help the students "get it."  I think I can cover one or two lessons this next week.  The biggest problem has come in trying to get my computer to sync with my TV.  I had a friend help, but we couldn't get it to show up in color.  Next option was to borrow a projector and speakers.  Of course, there were problems with getting the correct cords and making it all work together.  We finally got it done, but between the two attempts it probably took a whole day of my time.  Other days I spent doing necessary shopping, house stuff, "visiting" with random visitors who stopped by to chat and ask for my help.  In between those things I worked on the lesson.  I also spent time one day going to the "bush" and helping some teammates who were sick.  All these are good things and I wouldn't change what I did, it just means I feel a bit behind.

I feel less organized going into this lesson.  I still have time to get it ready.  The actual teaching doesn't start until Tuesday.  Even so, it is a new thing and I really wanted to spend more time getting it figured out.  I know it will work out fine - but - I am discombobulated.  So, keep me in your prayers as I try to work out the whys and hows of this next lesson.  I hope to make it a fun and encouraging week.  Pray God will help me get more organized.  I think my students will love that it is a movie.  Hopefully they will go away excited that they will be able (eventually) to watch and understand a whole movie in English.

Thanks for reading my thoughts.  I'm not complaining - just wishing for more time :)  I hope you have a great weekend!