Teachers for Teachers, Kitchen and Shambas, and its just Week 1:
As the group of teachers arrived the first day at Maisha they were greeted by a group of singing children and widows who had been anxiously awaiting their arrival. The widows welcomed them with warm hugs and kids grabbed their hands. The group was given a tour around Maisha and then they enjoyed the skits put on by the children and widows. Some described the experience as what they imagined being welcomed into Heaven would feel like.
The next day the teachers were quick to get to work. They were in classrooms all week with the Maisha teachers helping them discover new ways to teach. Becca helped with phonics so they can teach it to the kids at Maisha – they now know the pronunciation difference between “ship” and “sheep.” Sydney, Krista and Aman taught some of the class leaders how to play new games. They learned counting, rhyming, and color games so they can help other classmates to learn. Sydney had a breakthrough while teaching a color game to three year old Ashley. At first Ashley did not understand the game at all, then after trying multiple times Sydney was finally able to make Ashley grasp the concept of the game and she said all of the colors correctly. It was great to see both of their faces light up! Overall, they worked on assembling a resource center, reading groups, assessments, and how to play games that will help the kids learn. Kristen Huffty, leader of the teachers group, and Shonda Wold returned after visiting last summer to continue training the teachers. They have helped them learn culturally sensitive teaching styles that will be useful in Kenya. The Maisha teachers were already doing amazing work, now they can excel even more. The visiting teachers did a great job of empowering the teachers at Maisha!
Different groups have been going to the slums of Nylenda every day to pray and speak encouragement to people there who are suffering from HIV/AIDS. Everyone has been impacted by the slums differently but all come away with the understanding of how blessed they truly are. Each group visits two people who are suffering to pray and encourage them that God has made no mistakes and He still has a wonderful plan for their life. Then the groups all visit one person who is living with HIV/AIDS and is doing well. The success stories of are wonderful to see because they bring hope to everyone.
In addition, an advance team from Arkansas led by Bruce Edwards arrived the week before. They have been championing building a much needed new kitchen that will improve sanitary conditions of the feeding program exponentially and provide the cooks much better working conditions, with proper ventilation of the thick black smoke among other things. The kitchen project is well under way. Bruce has been attending meetings with the builder as well as continuing his training as Volunteer Director of Sustainable Farming in the garden. Earlier this week Bruce helped the gardeners at Maisha make a key hole demonstration garden and Watoto Shamba (Children’s Garden) a learning tool for the young children at the Maisha Academy. How fabulous is that?
It has been a very industrious week. The medical supply crate was unloaded and everything was brought into the Maisha Clinic. The men worked hard chopping/hauling wood (usually yet another task of the cooks). Only one week into summer missions and things are going strong. Still to come are teams who will work on a youth retreat, water, medical and micro finance projects. So stay tuned, its going to be another summer of great progress at Maisha!