Wow! What an amazing spirit-filled day. Our Kenya crew started our morning around 7:00 am (12 am for all you in the states) with buttered toast, hard boiled eggs, and as always, chai tea. Today was very different for us as we divided into smaller groups to travel to different locations based on our interests and expertise.
Ashley had the opportunity to visit a medical clinic. Luke, Nicole, Morgan, and Jenna were able to again visit a secondary boarding school. As for Renee, Rachel, Courtney, Kasey, Phil, and myself, we provided the teachers at Il Tum Tum school with a day of support and trainings, based on the teacher-reported needs.
At Il Tum Tum we began with two 'getting to know you' activities, both of which appeared to appeal to the ten present teachers. As a kind teacher Martha noted, "We really are alike!" Throughout discussion, we found that our favorite parts of educating and our challenges were far more alike than they were different, even across oceans. Throughout the day, God broke down barriers and opened my eyes to how alike we really are.
Teachers were given the chance to write down their expectations and hopes for the day. As our group read through the questions, we found they all fit into the following areas: helping children with special needs, different methods of teaching, reading comprehension, student socialization, students in America, modifying student behaviors, encouragement, and of course, treats.
This may be more amazing than you know. It seemed God hand-selected this group to answer these questions for the teachers as our small group possesses specific expertise to do so. My team included a resource teacher, a regular education teacher, special education teacher, mental health counselor, and myself, a school psychologist.
As we approached the questions with mindfulness techniques, identification of disabilities and interventions, descriptions of academic resources, and additional Q and As, I couldn't help but be impressed and in awe by the attentiveness and engagement of the teachers. My eyes darted from notebook to notebook completely filled with notes that must have stood out to the teachers. There wasn't a moment where it seemed the teachers were lost or uninterested.
Our team was able to seamlessly build on each others' presentations to provide what I felt were useful ideas. Considering the hindrance in language and the cultural differences, this is huge. From our first day at the Area 2 school, to the boarding school, and personally for me, especially at Il Tum Tum, the passion for education that is so obvious in Kenyan teachers is unmatched. As an educator in the US, I am prone to and am guilty of falling into the 'woe is me' trap. But wow...for teachers that have far greater challenges than I can imagine and far less resources, I have not once heard a complaint. I have only seen a hunger for knowledge,an inspiring excitement, and a humble spirit to truly instill the importance of education in each of these perfect students.
I went to sleep last night and woke up this morning praying that the Holy Spirit would speak through us to love and support the individuals we encounter as He sees necessary. To say my prayers were answered would be an understatement. There aren't words to appropriately describe the feeling when you feel you are making a difference and without Christ's complete guidance, those cultural differences would have hindered any progress. I am so excited to see where and how He continues to guide us the next week.