Wednesday, June 22:
Today was completely, purely blissful and probably one of the happiest days of my entire life. Before this trip, the happiest day of my life would consist of gaining the perfect body (no pun intended), scoring the best boyfriend and suddenly being loaded with money. However, today was the happiest and most perfect day for me because we pulled up to school and you could spot me and Katie’s class from a mile away by the way they were clinging onto their new bags, my children then loved the lesson we taught them and were completely engaged, and I got even closer to my seven favorite little boys, who then all walked me to the other school holding my hands.
I woke up feeling a lot better this morning, going into today with a positive attitude and telling myself that everything I was freaking out about yesterday wasn’t even an issue in the minds of others. We headed to the schools were we pulled up to the children screaming “azungo” meaning white people. It was actually really funny, they were all saying it and cheering. Our fifth graders who were all calling us by name immediately attacked Katie and me, and it made me feel really special because a lot of the other students still don’t know their teachers names. A teacher in training came for the first half-hour and taught the kids some math, while me and Katie sat by, fixing broken bags from the day before and handing out the nine notebooks to the boys who didn’t get them yesterday as well as the bags to the three girls. I immediately felt relieved because now everyone was on the same page. After the teachers left, Katie and I hung up the calendar that we made (which turned out so well!) and told them all to get out their notebooks that we made them. We asked them how many minutes were in an hour, how many hours were in a day, how many days in a week, week in a month and months in a year. They answered all of the questions and we wrote them on the board for them to write in their notebook. Then we asked them when Christmas and New Years was, which they knew right away. Whoever answered the question would then go put a sticker on the calendar where that day was. We then asked if they knew when their birthdays were, but they didn’t understand that word so we wrote it on the board and put “birthday: the day that you are born”. The teacher had to translate for us because they still didn’t know what we were talking about, but after she said something to them they understood. We asked for volunteers to put a sticker on the calendar of where their birthday was, and of course everyone started going crazy and throwing their hands up because they wanted to use the stickers. After about 30 students put their birthdays on the calendar, we figured that was enough and we taught them a game of Simon Says. It was a really good game because they had to listen very closely, but they caught on pretty quickly after the teacher translated some rules for them. It was also good because we would say “Simon says touch your knees”, and they’d have to remember what knees meant in English. After that, we had them all sit back down and we passed out construction paper and crayons/ markers. It’s funny how greedy these kids can get! We passed out all 96 of the crayons, and then still had about 20 students left so they got markers. Of course, everyone started grabbing at the markers and they still don’t really understand the concept of “sharing”. Guess we will have to work on that. We told them all to draw their favorite animal, and most of them were either fish, giraffe, zebra or chicken. Some people draw goats and monkeys and I’m telling you, these kids are great artists! Since they don’t have the supplies, I don’t think art is something they get to do a lot but they are all so talented and they all truly enjoy it. I wish I had enough materials to give them all to take home, because I think it’s a good distraction for them when the going gets rough.
After all of our lesson was over, the kids had their break at 11 am where we went outside and played with the jump rope for a little bit. I went inside because the dust was flying everywhere, and of course 50 students followed me back inside. It was pretty humorous when I walked back in and realized that all of the stickers had been taken off the calendar. A quick look around and I saw all of my students with smiley face stickers on their faces and ears. Haha oh well guess I can’t blame them! We looked over the picture book for awhile, which our teacher (Onida) had yet to see, and that was so fun! She was asking so many questions about the pictures and was so excited when I told her that she could keep it for their classroom. After some more playing and showing of pictures, it had quickly become noon and Katie and I had to heard over to MIE to eat lunch and discuss today. As we were leaving, Onida told us that we were such great teachers and she couldn’t believe we had never taught before because we were so interactive with the students. She then told us she wished we didn’t have to leave and that we could teach all the time. The kids all attacked us with hugs and walked us out the door again. (Just visualize this: 100 plus 5th graders running up to you and leading you out the door which barely fits three people in it. Bliss.) Katie and I then headed to MIE, and I was smiling from head to toe. Today was so successful.
We ate our sandwiches at MIE and discussed things, but my mind and heart was still completely with my class. I was hoping that my seven little boys would walk by MIE again because I brought extra granola bars for them today. Sure enough, just as we were leaving to walk to the Demonstration School, there comes Chisisi, Allfu, Robert, Reyo, Henery, Raphael and Yokobe. I handed them the two granola bars and told them to share, even though they don’t understand the word, but they always share everything so I wasn’t worried about it. They all blew me kisses and kept thanking me, and then we started heading to the Demonstration School.
About ten minutes into the walk, I hear “Kelsey! Kelsey!”, we all turn around and there are my seven little boys following me to the Demonstration School. They all grab my hands and thank me again for the food. Everyone was just looking at me, and I felt so amazing about the bond I was forming with my students. We walked about fifteen minutes today, and then Robert ran into the woods and came out a second later holding a baby bird! I have no idea how the heck he saw the bird from the street, but it must have been no more than a few days old. I guess this wasn’t anything new to them, because they were all passing it around and putting it in their pockets. The pictures with it are adorable. Anyways, we all got to the school and the kids left, all giving me hugs saying they couldn’t wait until tomorrow. They’ve all opened up to me so much just since Monday and I honestly, truly want to adopt them. (Surprise surprise.) I seriously don’t know how I am going to say goodbye to them. I wish I could promise them that I will be back, but I don’t know if that’s true or not. There’s so much I want to give them and say to them, but I can’t. Thankfully, I have another 9 days with them and I am going to try to do everything I can for them in that time. For now; peace, love, Malawi.