This Trip Will Not Be The Time to Shed a Few Pounds

“If I can stop one heart for breaking,
I should not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fanting robin
Into its nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”
-Emily Dickinson

Daybreak found us all snug in our beds in our new home at the mission house. At breakfast I came to the realization that with mama Tony’s delicious cooking, this trip will not be the time to shed a few pounds.

After breakfast Harran asked us each to write down three personal goals we had or this experience. There were many insightful goals such as to contribute to health care  to learn from the people and the community and to follow a calling to serve. As a group we then transformed these into some common group goals: to serve, to learn, to build relationships and to gain from these cultural experience.
Our meeting concluded, Patrick, the headmaster of Pommern Secondary School, led us through the village, past the clinic where the villagers were already waiting to see the visiting eye doctor. Past fields of corn and sunflowers, we arrived at Pommern Secondary School, quickly noting the sign “No English, No service.” After meeting with Edward, the academic master, and meeting all the teachers, we shared a delicious morning snack of tea and Maandazi, similar to hot donuts – yum!

As we casually walked out into the morning sun, we were stunned to see before us gathered the entire fourth, fifth, and sixth forms, approximately 500 students. They sang songs of welcome , one of which was “We are marching in the light of God” which brought a tear or two to my eye because we sing it many Sundays at home. I think we were all in awe of the impressive facilities they showed us on our tour. From the library and classrooms to science labs and solar power computers complete with Windows XP.

As our group introduced ourselves to the assembled students, they sent up cheers of delight when one of us mentioned an interest or profession I something such as Geography, English or computers. AS these students hope to enter the University next year, Edward urged them to talk with us and ask lots of questions to practice their English to better enabled them to get out into the world.

After lunch we dove right in when Harran gave out our assignments for tomorrow. Lynn, Lily, Matt and Rachel will be working with younger kids – Lynn and Lily prepared a lesson on vocabulary and letters for the Kindergarteners, while Matt and Rachel created lessons in basic conversation and math for 11 to 12 year olds. Mackenzie is introducing students to literature, Jordan is working on grammar and syntax, while Kady and Sonia worked in Chemistry: Personally I am thrilled to be working with Carmen as we helped the Geography and History teacher, Adidas, something I have a fighting chance of knowing something about. Of course, she and I might me working late by flashlight since he told us our lessons are to be on Socialism, the formation of the planet and continental drift. He is confident and gifted so we know we are in good hands. Already Katie and Shelly have put in a long afternoon helping Doctor Godlove see patients at the clinic, only after Dr. Shelly had made a new best friend this morning, the school nurse!

We close our afternoon with a performance by the children´s choir in the old church, in which, all the Global Volunteers joined in to wish Michelle a Happy Birthday, followed by the inspiring adult choir. As I write this I am distracted by the sounds of life outside the window: Jordan, Kady and Matt coloring, chatting, chasing a kite, and playing catch with all of our new “under seven” friends. I can´t write anymore, I must go play too.


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