Saturday, December 8, 2012

American Flag Mini-bus

I saw this nicely decorated minibus a few months ago wishing to take a photo of it. Today was my lucky day...not only did I get to ride in it but I had my camera with me :) I was a happy girl

December First

This December 2012 is a December that will be remembered for many years to come. And it started well. December first was a Saturday which found me getting into the Christmas spirit the best way I know how is such a hot climate…baking with cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon rolls were on the menu for breakfast and Christmas music was in the air.

This is Muhawe Kevin David.

He likes to be called Muhawe. He is a student in my class. He is so polite, caring, and a very good student. When asked, his favorite subject is English. One day I know he will gently lead something wonderful. J This is his “mama” she is a women who works at the New Hope Orphanage here in Burundi as a mother for 6 “children”. The primary school aged children from New Hope started coming to The King’s School this year. I wanted to know about where Muhawe lived and how his “family” worked. So we took a trip. A few Saturdays ago a number of us teachers went to visit. Sitting in the shadow of a mosque being build the orphanage is nothing to write home about. Small apartment style rooms are lined up along each wall leaving a cement slab in the middle to play. On one end is the gate and the other is a wreck room of sorts with cooking facilities around the corner.
We sang, listened to speeches and drank soda and shared cinnamon rolls. It was great to see my students and get a sense of where they are from.

Yellow Rain Hat

Liz and I couldn’t hold it together. Who wears a bright yellow rain hat during the day…this guy. He just seems so out of place amongst all the brown shades.


This year I wanted to host thanksgiving at my place. It was great to be able to invite over friends and share in a feast! 
Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, USA, and England were represented at the feast.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Babies, babies, babies!

Coworker Flora and her baby Chris

My week was filled with babies, Thursday went to Burundian baby shower for one of my co-workers at the King's School.
There were 20-25 women there and we literally played Pass the Baby. Around the room Chris went, spending about 2 minutes in each ladies arms. I got an extra minute since I asked for a photo.
Queen from the New Hope Orphanage

Saturday some of the teachers went to visit our students at one of the orphanages that feeds our school. It was great to see my students in their homes. And to meet their mothers who care for them. What was most interesting was finding out which children are "siblings" to one another. Nature vs Nurture...I think nurture is winning that battle.
This is Queen (on the right) who is in the pre school class. She took the opportunity to snuggle up into my arms for most of the time we were there. On Monday at school she came and gave me a big hug. It's nice to give and receive love.

Sunday I went to a friend's house and got to hold his 3 week old little girl, Sarah. She was so cute. I didn't want to give her away when we left. The father did tease me that I was getting married soon and the Burundian way is to have a baby within the first year of marriage. I just laughed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Feeling Well

I realized that I haven’t updated you since my illness. Please forgive me. I’m still alive. Slowly moving around and adding activities back to my life, but alive and well. Thank you to all who prayed. Your prayers were answered.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I have what? It feels like death!

Dysentery (formerly known as flux or the bloody flux) is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the feces[1] with fever, abdominal pain,[2] and rectal tenesmus (a feeling of incomplete defecation), caused by any kind of infection.
In extreme cases dysentery patients may pass over a litre of fluid an hour. More often, individuals will complain of nausea, abdominal pain, and frequent watery and usually foul-smelling diarrhea accompanied by mucus and blood, rectal pain, and fever.

Thank you Wikipedia for painting my symptoms so clearly. I could be considered a texbook case.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Relaxing in Burundi

After a hard few months we went out on the town. We treated ourselves to watermelon, orange, passion fruit drink at one of Isaac and my favorite restaurants.

The Blue Bench

This is my favorite bench in all of Burundi. I call it the Blue Bench. Back in 2010 I would leave the comfort of my apartment and take a seat on the Blue Bench greeting people as they passed. This bench became the place to make friends. People would just greet me and pass by, others would stop and sit. Many would take the opportunity to practice their English skills. Others would chat about culture. I learned many Kirundi words and culturally appropriate behaviors while sitting on this bench. This was also the bench where I first told him that I loved him. 

Today thought it is the International Bench. 
Sifiso, on the far side, is South African. Frenzdi, sitting in the middle, is from Haiti. It doesn’t matter how far away from the bench I live, it is still my favorite bench in all of Burundi.

Ticket to Ride

It’s almost like we really were back in 1912 taking over Europe…muhaha
Ticket to Ride was a great idea, even with the electricity off.

Wedding Hairstyle Try #1

No power, no electricity, nothing to do while I wait for the ride to town…what’s a girl supposed to do?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mango Mustache

You’ve hear of a milk mustache but what about a mango mustache? Quite often I see the orphan children at school taking mangoes from the tree and just eating them. I thought I’d give it a try…well I guess I don’t have the skill yet. I will just have to practice this tasty trick until I get it perfect. J Some things are really worth practicing.

Preparing the Classroom

Some days I have the energy to head back to school to organize for the next day.

Rainy Season


Rainy season doesn’t come without its perks, citrus fruits in season, less dust, really great looking clouds, and the purchase of a super bright and very East African umbrella.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Learning Through Play

Hand eye coordination, very good
Numerical Order, even without directions
Nice sorting

    Little do the children know, they are learning when they play. Fine motor skills, taking turns, sorting by color, hand eye coordination, sharing, special awareness, putting things in sequential order, it’s all play to them. And that makes me happy!!!
Concentration on a goal

A lovely AB pattern, nice work

Conquering the world with Legos and learning how to share!!!

Sorting by color and letter :)

And that is what I call a good days worth of learning!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Parent Teacher Conferences

Off to Parent Teacher Conferences...feeling good

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recipe for Ending a Brithday Well

Start with a good recipe

Get someone else to cut the onions :)
Save some for later

Enjoy with some good friends.

When 2 Worlds Collide

Wednesday I received a novel of an email from a very good friend that I didn’t have time then to read. A saved email makes it even more special. It’s like an unopened letter. With anticipation mounting I opened it this fine birthday morning. It was like my birthday present from her, I thought.
It was great. She writes just as if she is in the room with me chatting. She talked about her church, starting running, and other random life things. I was laughing so hard. I even read parts to my roommate that were extremely funny.
Then I got to the end. Normally I just go from one email to the next. I couldn’t. I had to get up and walk away. As tears filled my eyes I walked down the hall. Partly to get away, but partly because the yuck living in my stomach were telling me to find the toilet.  I had such joy reading that email. I was back in her house just chatting. Then I was struck with reality. She’s not here. I’m sitting on the toilet wishing I wasn’t. Then to make things worse I looked over at the bucket of soaking clothing that I, and no one else, must hunch over and scrub with my bare hands, hoping that the soap doesn’t eat holes in my skin.
I was hit with reality. Don’t get me wrong. I love living here, serving, teaching, and just being. But when my worlds collide and the contrast is so evident it makes me wish for the comfortable days of the past. Days when friends were close, the electricity worked, favorite food items were near by, and most of all family was down the hall.

Happy Birthday to ME

Looking over my blog I noticed that I haven't done much reflection lately. It is mainly photos and captions. I blame this partly on the fact that I was drowning under the load of being a first year teacher and partly on the fact that I have wonderful people around me that I am able to process and discuss things with :)
Normally I don't really care much for my birthday, not that I don't like it just that it isn't a huge thing for me. But for some reason I've been talking about it for weeks. And part of me couldn't sleep last night.
Yesterday in preparation for my birthday I went to the market. Going to the Central Market is quite the experience. When I say that people don't have space bubbles I'm not joking. I politely tap them on the shoulder, and with my best French accent say, "pardon". They look at me as if I asked them to do the impossible. I then have to resort to pushing, literally pushing them out of the way. This of course is not thought of as rude in anyway. Now that I have a full time job I cannot travel to the market until an hour to it closing. This means that the floors have seen an entire day worth of waste, chaff, and questionable liquids. I always seem to forget about this dreadful part. Shoes, proper shoes would be the answer, but with the forgetful nature I have they are left at home. I do my best to gingerly walk along the piles of stems and crushed leafs, hoping not to splatter my legs too badly. With all this said you may be asking, why I still go. It is simple. It brings me joy to travel to the market. Walking amongst the vendors picking up some new Kirundi words as I go. I am the only white person within the expanse of vendors and shoppers which makes me feel somehow small and yet very brave. I also am able to feel like I belong here. Every other woman my age travels to the market to load up on the essentials. But I think the thing that tops it off is the price. It makes me happy when I can buy 6 mangoes, 2 pili pili peppers, a liter of oil, 6 limes, 8 cilantro plants, a big squash and 6 limes all for about 5 US dollars.
With the shopping list you may have guessed what is on the menu for today, SALSA. I decided that some fajitas and salsa would be the answer to the question, what's for dinner?
Today, after washing my clothing; my birthday present to myself, clean clothes, I will travel back into the market for some fun clothing shopping with the ladies from school.
After which Isaac, my fiancee, will be joining me for a cooking session. He's bringing the goat meat to put into our fajitas, and I'm very excited about that!
It sound like it's going to be a great day. Hope I'll remember to take photos to show you in the next post.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Morning Devotions

Combined Year 1 classes for Devotion time proved to be much more relaxing that I had thought. The other class was very well behaved and was a very good influence on my class :)

Reading through the baby Bible I have. One story per day. We are learning all about the famous characters in the Old Testament right now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Educational Donations

Thanks to Sue McMaster my class is learning all about the letters of the alphabet :)

Monday, October 8, 2012


Rain on the roof, cool breeze in the air, lightning flashing, thunder rolling in the distance, random ant crawling across the floor and cookie in hand.

 Thanks to my good friend Laura Osterman I am truly enjoying this Monday.

"That's one good cookie mix. I'd like that person to be my friend." housemate Liz

Friday, October 5, 2012

Job Vacancy in East Africa

The King's School, Burundi is Recruiting

We are an English speaking, Christian school which offers an international education to children from 1 - 18 yrs. Currently we are the only school offering this type of education in Burundi.

The school is fee paying, which enables us to subsidise children from two local orphanages


Currently we need to fill the posts of HEAD OF NURSERY and YEAR 5 TEACHER. Both posts need to be filled by January 2013.

In support of the school's missional objectives, our preference would be to recruit either Burundian citizens or self-financing missionaries; however support options may be available.

Candidates must be:

- practising Christians
- fluent in English
- have relevant teaching experience



Potential candidates should either submit their CV or contact

Jeremy Wisdom


The King's School

Tel: (+257) 218197

Monday, October 1, 2012

Creating Books!!!

We are studying reproduction this term and so I'm talking about baby vs adult names...and the difference in shape and size of baby and adult.
I'm super excited about the book I just made for my students. Hope they enjoy it. Here is the first page.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

University Student Thesis Defense

So much talk of the little ones…where have all the university students gone.
Well…I was privileged to attend the Thesis defense of one of my university students. In Burundi students are required to write a thesis (book) to go along with their internship and then present it in front of a panel of three very scary looking professors. Last Friday it was Lambert’s turn.
Past with an 86%, couldn’t help but think, that’s my student once it was finished.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Can you spot what my students spotted during our math lesson?

I guess my lesson plan won't do...not as exciting.

Ok class. Which tree are you looking at?
Count with me, 1, 2, 3.
Now lets count as the coconuts fall to the ground.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Birthday Party

My house-mate's birthday proved to be profitable for me as well. We scored kitchen wear for her present!!! The box was full of hand turned clay kitchen ware. :)

Whoville Trees

I'm convinced that Dr Seuss visit Burundi before he began to draw pictures for his books.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week 3 Plants

The theme is plants. Today we are sorting seeds in Math and then in science we will plant them :) hopefully I'll remember to take pictures

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week 2, lots I learned

I have learned so much in the last week. Most importantly, Story time is a must!!! I spend more time reading stories to them and teaching through them than I do teaching at the whiteboard. They come in from playing under the hot sun and they are so hot and tired that all we can do is sit and read a story together.
The best lesson this week was off the cuff. I asked a student to grab a book off the shelf, “Good Morning Sun.” I had them sit at their tables. I explained that they could put their heads down if they wanted to and just listen. By the end of the story we had learned all about the sun rising, setting, shadows, and more. I was amazed that even though the sun shines every day they don’t know that much about it. Story time turned into journal writing time. The prompt, “The sun…” There were so many different pictures drawn and things dictated to me to write about.
What a great lesson. I, we, needed a good time of quiet learning and work.
Looking forward to next week.

Friday, September 14, 2012

First Week of School Coming to a Close

Helping with Math
So the first week of school is done, I know who the wiggle worms, the quiet ones in the corner, the confused, and the talkers. I have placed them in reading groups, including a group of four who are just working on learning english. I also have decided that my classroom, as beautiful as it was before school started, needs some serious reorganization.
With a few more assessments I feel that I will know my students well enough to start teaching them at their level, not too high and not too low.
I'm excited to actually start teaching them and learning more about how they learn best. There is so much to do, letter sounds, number value, following directions, writing letters, problem solving, reading, and getting along with your neighbor. I've already started saving papers to look back over at the end of the year. It will be great to see the progress. I think we will all have a good laugh at the "good work" we have done these last few days compared to what work will look like in 10 months.
Please pray for my students as we take this journey down the path to the second grade.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 4 of Teaching...when is nap time

It is Day 4 of teaching and I need a nap! I'm so tired. Three of my students have limited english and one has none at all. Try reasoning with him to do the right goodness!
Power was on last night but water turned off at 5pm. We prayed that it would turn on for a morning shower. Praise the Lord it was on. But it was a very cold morning. Wore a sweater over my t-shirt.
The children are getting the hang of stations or centers. One group is doing an art project while another is playing with something to work on fine motor control, another group is playing a spacial awareness game and I'm working with another for vocabulary and following directions. Then after 20 minutes we switch.
I was so proud of them today because I only had to tell them to control their noise and standing. Yesterday they were out of hand. So proud of my little guys for following directions today!!!

Perhaps I'll reward myself by making pizza for dinner! :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

The first day reflection

My Students on their First Day
I have 17 students in my class, they were so quiet today. I'm used to teaching severe special needs and university students. Year 1 is completely different! They looked at me in anticipation, waiting for me to say something, do something. Eager would be the word I would choose for them. They are like sponges, eagerly awaiting something to fill their minds with. I'm so privileged to be trusted with this task. Whatever I give them this year will be carried throughout their lives. Lord give me strength for this enormous task.

Goals for the week:
1 figure out who knows english
2 figure out who knows how to read
3 figure out who knows any math skills
4 try not to have too much fun ;)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First Day of School

First Day of School
First day of school jitters this morning.
I have 18 little 5 and 6 year olds currently waiting outside the gate for their first day of Year 1.
Today we will be playing with cars, doing puzzles, memorizing poems, coloring and of course having lots of fun.
I'm excited yet nervous. Please send up a prayer for me.
Got to go, staff meeting starts in 3 minutes!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back to Burundi Aug 2012

What a great time I had in the State visiting friends and family. But it is also great to be back in Burundi!!!

Flew into the DC airport with no trouble. Spent 24 hours with Sister Sarah and her Husband. It was great spending time with her. On the way out of DC the computer system was down and all flights were delayed, I stood in line for 3 hours with really nice people. Took the flight and rushed for the transfer in Brussels Belgium. Made it with time for a 10 min cat nap. The plane was all ready to go and the car to push the plane back from the terminal was broken, waited for a new machine and then we were off.
While on the plane I met a lady from Portland, Oregon area. Her name is Kate. She will be in Burundi for 18 months. Today I got to show her around the city. Please pray that the door will be open to sharing the gospel. She is very open about her lack of belief and "respecting" people with no belief (sounds very NorthWest of her).
Arriving in Burundi late plus making sure Kate was settled with her bags made our departure from the airport an hour or so later than planned. Isaac was there to greet me and my boss from The King's School were there to drive me home.
I was informed not to unpack because I was maybe moving the next day.
The night was full of "welcome back" realities.
No mosquito net meant I was chasing mosquitoes every 5 minutes. I would have been fine if I had only remained beneath my sheet and quit (thanks mom) but the heat was just too much after about 3 minutes. So I would uncover to let my body cool back down to a reasonable temperature. Then cover again when the dreadful whine of the mosquitoes came back out. After about 2 hours and 20 mosquito bites later I gave up and fell into a shallow sleep. Finally at around 5am I fell into a deep exhausted sleep.
It was a great drum beat when I think back to on it but at the time waking up to Burundian Drummers right outside my window was just too much of an alarm clock for me. The primary school has a troupe of Burundi traditional drummers (think of a little league team but with drums instead of bat and ball). Practice was at 10-11am. I knew sleep was over for me but continued in a sleepy closed eyes state trying to avoid the day. Then the phone rang. My boss informing I was moving and needed to be ready by 2.
I was ready by 2 but the transportation didn't come until 7pm! That evening I was just so excited to move into the new house with my new roommate that I had to unpack, even though it was pushing 10pm.
Liz is great! She is new to Burundi and will also be teaching at the primary school. I'm looking forward to learning more than just a British accent from her, being that she has been teaching for a while.
Today, as I said earlier, was a day to wonder the city with these two new residents of Burundi. I did my best not to overwhelm them with the sights, sounds, and smells of this crazy city I call home.
Church tomorrow and then staff meetings start Monday morning early.
Thanks for your prayers. Please lift up this next week as I set up my classroom, sit in staff meetings learning protocol for teaching in the British system, and as I lesson plan for the FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL! I'm just a little excited :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bridal Shower celebrated in the States

Thanks to all the wonderful ladies that made this Bridal Shower great. And thanks for all those wonderful ladies that came and helped me celebrate this wedding season.

American Favorites

Gitengi Girls

My African Aunts (missionaries to East Africa)

Lived with these two in Burundi all of 2010

Grandma with Grandaughters