Some days I love it here and I can’t believe I live here. Other days, I can’t believe I live here and can’t remember why. This past weekend I struggled with the latter. Maybe it’s because I was exhausted and needed a break. Maybe it’s because the holiday season (and lack of seasons here) is making me miss home a little extra, and the thought of not being with my family for Christmas is making me realize what it means to be homesick. Or maybe it’s because I had been sick and when I get sick, I get cranky, and I lose whatever filter was left as thoughts come pouring out of the corners of my mind and then out of my mouth.
I promise this post is not all about me. We will get the to kids…just hang on.
Still not feeling well, I had a difficult time mentally preparing myself for Monday morning…then as I walked out of the school, before I could even get out the words, “good morning,” ten little sets of arms wrapped around me in a big group hug as they shouted, “Miss Mary! Miss Mary!” each with their distinct accent. In case it isn’t obvious enough; this is why I’m here. I’m here for these kids. There are days when I don’t think I can muster up any more patience or energy for them…and those days are always followed by ones when I can’t stop smiling and can’t believe I let myself forget (again) that they are my purpose for being here, and they are more than enough reason to stay.
My small class of ten preschoolers is made up of kids representing six different Nationalities and five languages, coming from different cultural and socioeconomic groups (which we will be adding to in January when some new students join our school). Really, they each need their own post…but with 10 kids and my posting pace, that would take all year. Meet my preschoolers…
Prince will be six before the end of the school year making him the oldest in our class. His mother is the sweet worker at my house. She is an incredibly strong woman, and Prince already takes after her in this. He (like most of the kids) speaks very little English, but that doesn’t keep him from taking charge, wanting to be a leader and always trying to help others.
This is my second oldest student, Kelsey. As you can see below, he recently had a Birthday. He was so excited to celebrate with his friends at school; he refused to have his party at home. Kelsey is trilingual (yes, I’m envious). While French is his first language, he also speaks Kinyarwanda (the local language) and knows a decent amount of English. During the first few weeks of school he would sometimes act as the translator between me and the other students. Kelsey loves responsibility, and often pretends to be the teacher. He also has a great sense of humor and will make a joke of something any chance he gets. This kid also has great manners. Props to his momma.
I’m sure Kelsey was the one who started this creative play of making computers during center time. He’s learning his father’s businessman ways already. Sometimes he sells balls to the other kids (for leaf currency).
Meet Amanda. I’m still trying to figure this one out. She is extremely shy and soft spoken; I have to strain to here anything she says. Within the past couple of weeks she has relaxed a little and become more comfortable and confident. The almost constant, “deer in the headlights,” look she had has now softened to a bashful look of interest, often interrupted by a big smile and laughter. Her laugh sounds just like the one one Mario, if you know what I’m talking about. It’s pretty great.
Seven more preschoolers coming your way…