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Monday I started my new placement and absolutely love it! It is a newer school that was started in September and is in the process of being funded and built to be the best it can be. This means there is a lot to do and I am happy about that as my help feels needed. I have gotten to experience all of the different parts of the orphanage already and find it to be truly a great place! The staff are all so friendly and warm. Happy is the teacher who works with the older children. Her son, Nelson, goes to the school and is in her class. She walks two hours to and from school each day, which is insane to me. Every time I think I am tired, I think of her and stop myself from complaining. I could have it much worse walking home rather than sitting on a dala dala getting home. 

Happy's classroom was very bare boned with just rows of desks and the chalkboard, with the exception of one poster. We ended up going to the store and buying some paper to help decorate the classroom. We all sat in the family room Monday night and colored all of the letters of the alphabet. They are now hanging in the classroom and look absolutely beautiful with each one having it's own unique look! It has added to the room so much already and I hope to find ways to encourage their learning even more, even with just the simplicity of drawn pictures. 

picture above: classroom after we hung up the pictures we all colored for them
picture below: The classroom I work in with the younger children! Our teacher is Andrew and I work with the volunteer boy Chris in this room usually. They are so cute and filled with love and laughter!

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picture left: One of the volunteers, Terence, playing with the children during break time! They sure do love to see us kick the ball straight up in the air and chase after it when it hits the ground. 

It's only been 2 days I have been there and I am already in love with this place. The kids are so cute and full of life despite their home situations. I have gotten to work in both classrooms and the kitchen with everyone and see how each place works. Andrew is the teacher for the younger children and he is always so energetic and happy with the children. It's a joy to be in his class and work with him. Boy Chris and I are the ones in his class usually and we enjoy being able to do the different things. 

It's very common for us to spend the majority of time copying and writing the homework in each child's book. They have to hand write everything as they don't have copying machines. It was a bit of a reality shock but helped me to realize what they need at the school too. It's so sad to see such an extraordinary group of children struggling to receive an education and the teachers are providing the best possible environment they can.

Just today the children were playing with a hose they found and made a mud pit. A few children got muddy or wet from it and their clothes were stripped off or adjusted for their comfort. In the whole process of making the mud field, the children were never really confrotned but left to cry. At fist I atteneded to the crying children, but quickly realized they were crying for something like a ball or getting muddy but then again it was their own fault. I try my best to help the children but part of it is the culture and the way in which they are allowed to interact with one another. Hitting and sharing are not common things dealt with as the children are left to fend for themselves. In the USA, this would never fly so I try to pick a healthy balance to help these kids without doing harm at the same time. It's been a great time at Afroplan and I look forward to my next few weeks!

With love from Africa,

Lauren

 


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