Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Fourth Month

I am realizing that the first trimester is over, and I’m starting to feel better about things. On Tuesday, we went to another teacher’s retirement celebration. This time it was to Mpofu Methodist Primary School. Mpofu is the furthest away (96 km) from St. Paul’s. This was the third time I had visited Mpofu. The head teacher greeted me and said that since it was my third time, I am now part of the Mpofu family. It was then that I realized that I am starting to get familiar with the schools and head teachers in the Central Circuit. I now know where all 11 schools are and I know the head teachers’ name and recognize them when I see them outside of their own school environment. I really didn’t think this would ever happen.

Today we went to Ebohli Methodist Primary School. It is the school that is the second furthest away (87 km) from St. Paul's. We were there for a ribbon cutting event for a new home economics building that was built by the European Union’s Micro Project. This was the third 4-hour event in a little over a week. I wasn’t especially thrilled to have to go. However, the reception, joking and conversation with the head teacher and the deputy teacher was a blessing. And of course watching the children and saying hi to them is always wonderful. I left feeling very glad that I went.

I have also realized this week how much the people I have worked with and come to know mean to me: Eleanor the church secretary who is an absolute delight; Juliet the retired grade one teacher who is now becoming a local pastor. She delights in helping me learn to speak Siswati and shares my concern for the preschools and carepoints. Then there is Thoko, the most kind hearted Manyano woman I think I have ever met. She and I enjoy talking and sharing things about our families and working together to serve others. These women are my sisters-in-Christ and they have kept me going.

I am realizing that what I have known and what everyone has told me is true: it takes time to build relationships and in time, everything won’t be so overwhelming. As frustrating as it is in the beginning, with patience, prayer, love, kindness and laughter precious friendships are formed and things start making some sense. I see now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and no, it isn’t a train. I praise God for putting people such as these three ladies in my life. His steadfast love endures forever.

Now, to start tackling SiSwati! I started taking lessons with a tutor yesterday. She is also a wonderful lady who is patient, loving, kind and thank God, she has a great sense of humor! We both laughed our way through the lesson. But this experience also helped me realize that my tongue has started relaxing a bit it trys to make those required clicking noises, and that I am actually recognizing a few words. Things are starting to fall into place. It does take time.

1 comment:

Mary Lieffort said...

Praise God, dear Sister...Praise God!! God is knitting together a new piece to add to the quilt of your life, and this one is promising to be as beautiful as what it is being added to. I can't wait to see you and hear more in person, not to mention the joy at getting to hug your neck. It's gonna be great!!!