Friday, September 19, 2014

Back To School Update

We are back to work! The long holiday is over. The students are in school, we are teaching classes. I am teaching Form I and II mathematics again, and Logan is teaching Form I English and is the Librarian. It's handy to have a year of experience, because we have been able to approach our work with less confusion. I have been able to start the year off on a good note, discipline-wise, and we're diving right into the curriculum... this year I actually have a copy of the curriculum! That helps.  The final timetable still has yet to be published, but we have a working copy and there will hopefully only be minor changes.

What is amazing to me is how much of what bothered me last year, I take in stride this year. No school calendar published? No problem. No staff meeting until the work day before students arrive? No problem. No timetable worked out until the second or third week of classes? No problem. Feeling like nobody addresses any problems proactively, but only reacts to the problem at hand? Well, that's just the way we do things here. In some ways, that's totally frustrating, but in others it is remarkably freeing.

Our children are schooling at the local Catholic primary school, and this time it's all four of the older kids. Sally stays home with Mom, Dad, and/or Ma Marcel. Ma Marcel has been a godsend during the start of the school year by keeping our household running smoothly, which has enabled us to focus on teaching, preparing lessons, that kind of thing.

We had a little birthday party for Helena and James, and it was a success. We had a local woman make us lots of little appetizer-like foods, Logan made a cake, and I organized some games and activities. We managed to find some nice presents for H and J, too, thanks to one of the local missionary families who are packing up and heading back to the States.
1 tennis bal + 2 sticks = African teeball
Let's eat cake!
The power has been off and on, the internet has been in and out, and consequently we've gotten more sleep. I'm feeling great! My radio show has been going well, at least on the Sundays where the station has power. Overall, we are happy to be transitioning into this next period of our missionary life. There is much work to be done, and a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

One last thing: We met Cardinal Tume's Mother! She lives in Kikaikelaki, the next village up the road. We went with the Newburn family, who are LMH missionaries in Bamenda. The Cardinal's Mother is by every account a very old woman (the Cardinal himself is in his 80's), and by some accounts she is the oldest person in the world. She is 117 years old, using the conservative calculations. It's tough to get an exact DOB, as they didn't really have things like birth certificates a hundred years ago. Her name is Catherine, and Logan's first name is Katherine, which only added to the very special moment as the oldest person on Earth asked for God's blessing on one of the youngest people.
Sadly, I missed capturing the moment when the Cardinal's Mother's hands were on Logan's belly during the blessing. But look how great that woman looks! She doesn't look a day older than 87
Hearing the eldest of the world praying in Lamnso' for my own family was a very touching and emotional moment, one of my favorite experiences in Cameroon. 


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