10.21.2011

Contrast

Hello Hello!
Can you believe I've been gone 10 weeks already? I hope you are having a wonderful week. I was a legit teacher this week teaching the Grade R's. (Kindergarten) I had zero prep time, I wasn't sure of their schedule and I never knew if I was teaching 31 kids or not. Grade R is a chance for these Zulu children to learn English. *key word in that sentence is learn. Than throw in my accent...

Let's just say it was HECTIC! They are so cute but boy can they be naughty. I was extremly tired all week long. Than I still had to leave the school and keep 17 children's attention and help with homework.

Other news: Jessica (a SALTer from America working in Durban) came down for the week because her job was at Gateway (where I work). She works for Refugee Social Services and they rented out a space at Gatway to help the refugees around PMB (Pietermaritzburg-my city) It was such a blessing to see her and hang out with her this past week.

Also I started PEACE CLUBS at the boarding house on Wednesday! At first the kids didn't want to go to the dining room and I had to literally chase the soccer ball around and fetch it so they would stop playing and go inside. However, when the hour was up and it was time to bath I was than taking their journals away from them. It was great to see them participate! The th theme we are working on is "anger managment." I am teaching them different ways we can deal with anger etc etc. I know a lot of you were praying for the start of Peace Clubs and I want  to tell you thank you for your prayers! It did go so well and I could just see the Spirit working - thanks to your prayers. I will make sure that I continue to give frequent updates on the happenings of these peace clubs. I am so encouraged by the kids participation and I look forward to seeing how God will work in their lives through this club.

My goal for blogging was to not keep it surface level. I don't just want to tell you what I am doing but I want you to hear my thoughts, struggles, frustrations and joys- thats all part of this journey and in my opinion its the bigger part of this journey..

Since chatting with Jessica on Monday some of my thoughts about changing worlds surfaced. It's easy to talk about problems.. people talk about problems all the time but its the solutions that really make the difference.
I have been battling with seeing poverty up close during the week and than changing worlds completely for the weekend. The contrast is so huge and it's something that I have to deal with each and every week.Trust me, it's terrible on my heart and I get frustrated and confused all the time. Even simple things that shouldn't bother me are starting too. Even the way I dress for example changes whether its during the week. At Gateway I usually wear the long dresses or skirts and during the weekends I wear my outfits that I would wear at home.

Something that was profound this week is that I've never bridged this world at home in Elmira. Just because I didn't bridge this world at home doesn't mean that poverty isn't there. I don't think I can ever go back to just living in "my privleged world" and "just talking about the issues." Don't get me wrong- talking about poverty, children's right to education, women's rights etc are vital- however it can't stop there. My actions or lack of, usually would end there.

Every Sunday when I drive to church in the morning I have to drive past the slums. Most of the children at my school live in that environment. Lots of children come from rough backgrounds and don't have money to buy pencils. I deal with that five days a week. Than I come to an amazing host family and sit at my desk in my own room on my laptop with wifi and get to type to you all- get the contrast?

I haven't figured out what to do with all these thoughts running through head but I am happy that they have surfaced and that I can chat with you about them- even if we are contients apart.

Anyways, I have a pretty chill weekend ahead of me- the Lord knows that I need it. It's Anne (my host mom's) birthday today and we are going out for dinner to celebrate- and than Mark (my host Dad) is preaching at another site within the same church up in Moore River on Sunday which I am excited for as well!

Miss you all more than I could ever put into words.
Much Love

Madeline.

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