Settling in and report cards!

December 14 – Settling In and Report Cards

And so the jet lag begins to wane . . . it is still 5:15 a.m. and I am awake but there is much to do and now is my quiet time.  The children are amazing!  Gerehad, who spoke neither Kiswahili nor English when he came here in March calls out, “Mama this is a finger”, while pointing to a drawing of a hand he has just completed.  He is so, so, so intelligent and thanks to the McCann family in Australia, will begin school in January.  What a little boy!  Christina can spell her name!  Write it down!  It’s not perfect but it’s there and she and WE can recognize it!  Christina is intellectually challenged because she was born with hydrocephalus but one could hardly notice . . . and she is so very happy!
At last you will have some GOOD photos.  Mama Picha (Cindy) and Kal are hard at work (it resembles one of those television reporting vehicles, or command central in their house next door with all of their equipment), and they are hard at it.  You will see in the photos that we’ve got the pros here!  Asante.  Cindy is moved by how tiny the children are . . . like you, she has been loving these children for a year without having a vertical reference for them and was surprised to learn that our little ones, are, well, little . . . younger than she had imagined . . . but she too will tell you, they are oh, so happy!
It rains every day here so far and the locals are concerned.  The short rains should have ended by now and created a window between them and the very needed long rains to come in April and now we worry that perhaps the long rains won’t come and that will be a shida kubwa (big problem).  You see, in February and early March farmers scramble to get their crops planted so that by the time the rains come they are established and able to endure the relentless long rains and then thrive afterward.  Time will tell.  And Katy . . . our Port Dover volunteer?  She is remarkable!  She is happy and healthy and dada kubwa to the children and they are loving it!  Katy is a wonderful teacher and we are lucky to have her!
We have only shidas kidogo (little problems) with respect to the health of the children.  Christina, Anna and Elizabeth have a fungus on their face, bottom and shoulders respectively and Zawadi (Joseph) is struggling with a nasty something or other on his face which has swollen his eyes and breaks out in pustules but all have attended Dr. Lyimo and are hopefully on the mend.  Little Mary continues to improve but came to me last night crying with stomach pain.  We suspect she may have an egg allergy which causes her to vomit, but last night was pain, not nausea and so we will watch her.
Report cards are coming in and if I may we have some stars . . . Emmanuel was #1 and Lazaro #5 in the same class of 35 students.  Margaret and Angela are shining with top marks (surprisingly so considering the schools they came from) which was a very pleasant surprise . . . Evaline struggles with spelling and English still . . . we need to decipher if it is aptitude or attitude, because she can study with the other girls.  For someone coming, if you could find some laminated cards/signs which illustrate something and then spell the word out, please bring as many as you can carry.  (ie.  A photo of a tree and then the word “tree”).  Aisha, Kelvin (who has confirmation on Sunday) and Ester all need to read more books and Jenny needs to work harder . . . she loves to play . . . not to study so much and the children must retain a 60% grade average at Young Roses School in order to remain.  She must work harder.
Well it is now 6:40 and the sun is rising and the chickens are going crazy because Lohai is feeding them.  It is our alarm clock here, for those who are still resting.  Primary school attends for three months and then has one off and so the children are not attending regular classes now but tuition or extra study.  They too are rising for chai, mandaze (doughnuts) and myai (eggs) before walking to school.  Ester will be motorcycled to class.  I will run . . . be well, sending love and thanks to all . . . watoto wazuri sana!  The children are very well! . . . because of you . . . Asante!
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