Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Homeschooling in South Sudan

Teaching my youngest how to read

Back in 2007 when we were preparing to come to Sudan and I had a 2 year old and a baby, friends would ask me what we're going to do about the schooling of our children. Our organization also forewarned us that there were no schooling options for our children besides teaching them ourselves at home. Being a teacher myself I was excited about the idea of homeschooling when the time came.

Fast forward 6 years. Now I have a 3rd grader, a 2nd grader and a kindergartener. I live in kind of a remote place with no local library, poor internet connection, heat, and many many distractions. But...I believe this is the IDEAL place to homeschool and I believe my children are getting an incredible education that I would not trade for the world!

Making our own paints with egg and dye in art class

Up until this year I have been teaching my kids on my own, using my own ideas and creativity - which isn't that great. :) This year God has given our family a gift - other families with children who are also homeschooling. Though we each have our own curriculum and do most of our school in our own homes, we have started doing fun classes together as a group. It is soooooo much fun.

Math is more fun together

My teammate, Amie Cross, also taught a fun music class where our children got to learn the different music notes and how to read music. They practiced with tin whistles and a recorder and 6 weeks later could all play "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

Just this last week, our member care teammate came to visit and bring refreshment and encouragement to our team. One of the fun things she did with our children was a 2 hour class on ocean animals. They loved it!

*photo taken by Jonathan Cross

Last weekend, 6 weeks after starting our classes together, we had a special presentation for the rest of our team. The program began with the kiddos playing their much practiced piece: Mary Had a Little Lamb, followed by speeches by everyone, a few songs, and finally a giant potluck complete with two different cakes!!! These children's performances were just precious. Topics of speeches ranged from bats, natural pesticides you can make at home, a pet, and the Code of Knights.

I'm not sure what the Lord has in store for my children's educational needs in the future. But I am so grateful and content with the opportunity they have at this age to live on the Nile River, get school done in 3 hours, learn how to speak Arabic, live in a very different culture and see first hand what it means to live your life as a light for Jesus.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Delights of Gardening

My first successful sunflowers

My favorite thing about this time of year (the rainy season) is experimenting and growing new things in this land on the Nile River. Since we just moved into our brand new house in April, it's been very fun to plant flowers around the house, a vegetable patch in the front, and a small garden behind the house. Not only do I love to see things grow but I actually enjoy weeding. I like to get down on my hands and knees and think and pray as I pull out weeds and beautify my garden. It's so rewarding!

Josh hiding in the midst of our flowers at the front of the house

We're getting a great cucumber crop this year

Our 1st watermelon - we had to pick it a little early since some grubs were already helping themselves to it!

Friday, September 06, 2013

God's Hand in a Miraculous Birth this week

GTC's newest baby

This last Wednesday another student's wife went into labor. This time we were worried about complications because she went into labor a month earlier than she’d calculated and she’s had very high blood pressure during her pregnancy. Claire, our teammate who is a nurse,  took her to the hospital around 10 am on Wednesday. A few other women on campus and I joined them at the hospital and spent most of the day assisting Claire and being there for Miriam (the laboring mother.) Honestly my emotions are still numb from everything that took place that day. I have been traumatized by the state of our hospital here and have decided NEVER to take any member of my family there. Miriam delivered a baby girl around 3:30 pm and honestly, we almost lost her. Her blood pressure shot so high she started convulsing and then went unconscious. While my teammate Amie held the newborn baby, Claire and I gently talked to Miriam (Claire in English and me translating into Arabic.) At one point Claire turned to me and said, “We’re losing her. PRAY!” Less than a minute later we started coaxing her, “Miriam, if you can hear my voice, try to open your eyes.” I guess the drug they gave her for her blood pressure made her lose her muscle strength so she was very drowsy and couldn’t move. I cannot tell you the utter joy and awe I had for God at the moment her beautiful eyes fluttered open!
    Fast forward to today, Friday. Little Baby Claire (named after her amazing nurse!!!) is doing great. She showed some signs of infection (or so the Sudanese staff thought) so they’ve been keeping them at the hospital. We’ve made many trips back and forth taking food, taking her other five children to meet their new sister, and this afternoon carting gallons of hot water so she could have a nice hot bath. I won’t bore you with the list of things you have to bring for your hospital stay. Basically, just pack everything. All they provide is a bed. Period. We are all looking forward to hopefully bringing Miriam and baby Claire back to campus tomorrow.


Miriam and Baby Claire

A new friend

This young mother also arrived at the hospital on Wednesday morning with a 2 week old baby who was diagnosed with malaria. Over the last few days we got to know her a bit. The other women in the maternity ward loved watching and listening to the khawadjas (foreigners) as we loved on Miriam.

As you read this blog please also pray for one last student wife who is due any day. Her name is Rhoda and since the last 2 labors have been quite traumatic she is nervous. Pray for Claire to recuperate from her long 36 hour stay at the hospital with Miriam and baby so she'll be ready to help with Rhoda's delivery whenever that may be.