This post is entitled “Now it is hot!” because this is the hot season. As the temperature gradually build we say at intervals, “now it is hot” until… well until, it really is hot! Once again we are waiting for the rain in earnest, wondering what this years rainy season will be. Will the rain rain at the right time, for the right amount that everyone will get the crops they need to take them through the next 12 months. Please pray with us that this year will see plentiful rains and good harvests. Amen.
We said farewell to Anni and Debby in September after a fantastic month with them. As trainee teachers their insights into our Nursery school were very valuable and have become part of the foundation for some key changes in teaching style we are making right now. At the end of September and beginning of October we welcomed 3 new volunteers; Mary and Jim Higbee from California and Sarah Anderson from Missisipi. Our first volunteers from America and from the Episcopal church. We are very excited to be partnering with them.
Mary and Jim were previously involved in establishing a secondary school in South Sudan and teacher training in Kenya. They have brought with them great knowledge of how to achieve the changes we have been wanting to make for a while. Jim is also a skilled carpenter and is helping us to get ‘around to’ many jobs at home and at school. Sarah has recently graduated and on return to Mississippi will take up a Youth Work role in a church. She has only been with us a week so far but has settled into family and school life really quickly. Stephen and Simon continue to be with us. Stephen working hard with forms 2 and 4 to try and get their maths ready for the national exams and Simon working with Mary to develop the Nursery school.
Whilst we are talking about volunteers an update on the house. It now has a roof, door frames and windows, doors being hung as we write. The electrician has been in wired up and the plumber is coming next week to lay pipes into the walls. Builders are plastering the rooms that are ready. We still need to do the floors and finishing, then we need to furnish it and in kitchen cupboards and appliances etc. We are never sure where the next bit of money is going to come from to keep going and then it appears. God is good!
Form Four Graduation
We had a joyful four Graduation. On October 30th these students will start their national end of Secondary school exams. Please pray for them. We want to praise God for the sense of family and joy that was present in this years graduation it was a day to truly celebrate the achievement of these students and of the school. The parents have been asking us to open an A’level division for the school and we are hoping to start this in 2018 so they helped us to fundraiser towards the dormitory and classroom needs that will bring. Thank you to those of you at home who responded to our facebook post and helped to provide some bags of cement.
We also had cause to celebrate as a family as Kelvin graduated from primary school first in his class academically. The Standard seven national exam results were announced yesterday and he got; Swahili A, English C, Science B, Maths A, Civics B. We are very proud of him. He is currently participating in our pre form one class ready to join St. John’s in January.
Another reason to celebrate has been the arrival of our new school bus! We needed to raise £14,500 to buy a bus of this size and we did it by your kind gifts and securing an interest free loan for £9500. We can only give all the glory to God that we have managed to get this bus as on our own there was no way we could find that money or achieve this dream. Thank you to those who have given so generously and heard Gods small voice.
We still need your prayers, obviously as we continue to fund raise to repay the loan, but more so, that the bus will bring in more students from surrounding villages and help us to grow our school and offer more children access to a better education. When we look at Kelvins school results, no one in his class achieved above a C in English and most received a D yet English is the medium for Secondary education, we need an English medium Primary school to get students ready for learning in English at Secondary school. This challenge of language is what causes most students to fail or struggle to do well at Secondary level.
Zumgumza na Mtoto Mchanga began in September. We were really pleased to have David Townend (co founder of Zumm) with us for our first week of teaching. With him we taught session one in Solya Parish and then did short seminars in; Kilimatinde Primary and Secondary schools, Solya Primary school, Kilimatinde Nursing college, Kilimatinde hospital and of course St. John’s!
What is it all about? Encouraging parents and everyone who has contact with a baby to speak to the baby! Of course parents speak to their babies but research has shown that the quantity and the quality (real words and sentences) is not enough. At age two we can know how our children will get on at school by counting the number of words the child has. Ideally a two year old needs to have 50-60 words most in Tanzania have less than 20. Parents can speak with their baby from the day they are born or before but the really critical time for building the language connections in the brain is between 6 and 9 months old. Research has shown that in Tanzanian homes within one hour a child may be spoken to directly using approximately 63 words. In UK educated homes this number is more like 2000 and even in less well educated homes it is around 600. For more information… Zumm video
Thank you to everyone who has signed up already to support us through CMS, for anyone still praying it through here is the link to our page on their website.
If your church is considering supporting us it would be helpful for CMS to have a idea soon of the level of support we need to have raised at least 75% of our budget before we go on training in April 2018
- For us as a family for good health physically and spiritually and plenty of time to laugh together.
- The mothers who learn’t about how to speak to their babies that they would have the courage and confidence to put it into practice and for more opportunities to share this teaching.
- For all the students in forms 2 and 4 preparing for their national exams and for Festo as he guides the school through this busy time of year.
- For the volunteer accommodation that God would provide what we need when we need it to get the house finished.
- Praise God for the arrival of our school bus and please pray that it will bring more children to learn with us at St. John’s and that we will be able to repay the loan swiftly.
- Please pray that the government will favour our school with registration to provide A’levels.
- For us as we continue to raise the financial support to work here as CMS Mission Partners.
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