Thinking of everyone with gratitude on this day before Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful weekend break at Tarangire National Park. We left after arts and crafts on Friday and our entry into the park was itself a game drive - elephants, zebra, giraffe, Cape buffalo - hundreds of these. The lodge we stayed in was lovely with a view down into the Tarangire River valley. We could sit on the terrace and watch the animals grazing in the distance. Amazing! Our longed-for hot shower was not to be - the solar-heated water was too cool. But our disappointment did not last long - we were off for a swim in the pool where we could see elephants beyond the fence. Monday morning we were back in class. Teaching starts at 8 a.m. I leave the cottage at about 10 with my backpack and lesson plans. As soon as I walk through the gate into the school I hear girls I have never met calling out "Good morning, Barbara!" Everyone is greeted on the way to class. Before I have reached class one of my students will have met me and taken my backpack. Students are already in the room when I arrive. Twenty-eight in the B group (more advanced English) and thirty-five in the A group. In the room is a hodgepodge of tables, chairs (some broken) and desks. The regular desks and chairs are being used for testing of older students- I have never seen these. There is a whiteboard and a small table in front. The whiteboard pens we have often stop writing about 15 minutes into class. The general rule here is that sometimes things do not work. The girls have pens or pencils and a workbook for each class. They often cannot find their pens (they are locked in the dorm) or their pencil needs sharpening and no one in class has one. Dad/Gramps/ Stephen always remembers to bring one just in case. Scrounging for materials to use in class is a constant activity. Last week I had them draw Achilles shield after giving my own synopsis of "The Iliad." (Katie will not be surprised.) The night before I carefully cut 35 8x11 white sheets of paper in half! Some girls are eager to learn - some less so - just like at BHS. Some are homesick and lonely. Others are happy-go-lucky and surrounded by friends. At one time all of the girls were Maasai - that is no longer the case. Many tribes/areas are represented. Some are from comfortable homes in the city; others are from poor villages. They almost all love to sing!
We will be counting our blessings tomorrow (and each day). You all are among these.