So so much to tell! These last few weeks have been incredibly full. I feel like I am finally settling into the schedule, so hopefully can get into a more regular schedule for updating this. I may play catch up and update on different things that have happened over the last few weeks over the next couple days, but as a summary, it has been AMAZING…blessed, stretching, humbling, fun, tiring, full, new, feels like normal, adventurous, and just all over the place.
My schedule during the week is pretty structured…For Monday thru Friday: mornings are spent with preschool for 2 hours, then toddlers for 2 hours—we do school with the preschool, right now working on learning our letters and shapes and colors; mostly just play with the toddlers and read books and go on nature walks : ) Then we help with lunch and getting the kids ready for nap time, followed by lunch and a break. Then for our afternoon time we alternate between activities twice a week (water activities, PE, puppet shows, etc), laundry once a week, and outings and one-on-one once a week each. Then I fall into bed after hanging out for a little bit. On Saturdays we do different projects around Amani—from moving trash into the trash pit to sorting clothes to cleaning rooms, it varies every week. We have Saturday afternoons off. On Sunday we go to church together at this amazing church that meets outside and then have the rest of the day free. I'm serving alongside 3 other amazing volunteers...there were 3 others here but they're gone now, so 4 remain. They are each amazing and bless my days with friendship, laughter, and their beautiful hearts!
Outings and one-on-one time are my absolute favorites! I am still having a hard time figuring out how to love each kid well when we’re in a big group setting…how do you love individually when there are 10 children in a room, let alone 24? It’s tough. Pray for wisdom there…it’s getting better as I get to know them better, but still very hard. But because of this, I LOVE when I get to hang out with them with one other volunteer or one-on-one. We go to town and get a soda or maybe a piece of cake, or stay here and watch a movie, or do some other fun thing to just treat them and hang out and just love on them. It is SO much fun and such a blessing! To be able to show a child they are so loved and to just get to spend sweet time with just them is a joy. So far I have taken kids to get ice cream, to the pool, to get cake, and to watch a movie…and lots of other fun things. I’ll try to add some pictures to accompany this, but just know it is a blast!
I have found my favorite place to be for naptime and bedtime prep is with the boys…they are crazy most days (imagine trying to put 17 boys to bed at the same time, ages 2 through 8, half in “big boy underpants” and half in diapers, all in one room….you get the picture), but I love it. My friend Simona (one of the other volunteers) had been here last year and always helped with the boys, and I decided to try it out with her…and now I’m hooked. I kind of love the craziness of it. I helped with the girls the other night and they were boring…haha. The boys just make me laugh and smile as much as they make me frustrated, and at the end of it getting to read them a story, hear their precious bedtime prayer, and to give them all goodnight kisses (and sometimes get a kiss or two back) is a beautiful delight. One of my favorite parts of the day.
The afternoon break time and weekend down time has been really good for my soul for meeting with some of the amazing new friends here who I have heard much of through sweet friends from home. The Lord is bringing community in this new place and it is just really incredible. More to come on that.
And this is how I have been spending my days. Loving God, loving His children, and learning so much! Praying He’ll keep me focused and in love with Him that I might pour that love out.
Nkwagala nyo (I love you much),