Wednesday 13 February 2019

Time flies when you're having fun....

Happy New Year!

I thought the UK was cold!
I know that's a little late but things kicked off in January full steam ahead and somehow we are now well into February. The year is flying!

Last school year finished well with a party for 180+ children.  The party ended at 3.30pm and at midnight I headed to the airport to go and visit my family for the holidays. It was a special time, my nieces didn't take too long to warm up to me and I was able to visit a few people and catch up with Don and Christine.

I came back to Zambia in January knowing that we only had 30 free spaces at school and I had more than 30 children on the waiting list.... an impossible situation as they are all so desperate for school.

New uniform for some of the boys
New uniform for some of the girls

We spent a week doing some teacher training. This included practical things like building lego models - something the teachers had never done before - and some learning and self evaluation. Then on the 14th January the gates were opened. Actually, we didn't let any parents into the school as we knew we were going to have a problem. The approach we took was to let all of the children already enrolled in school go through the gates then separate the parents into 2 groups, those that had children at school already and those who didn't. Unfortunately we had to tell all of those that didn't have children here that there would not be spaces for them. The rest of the parents had to fill in a form giving names, ages and grades of the children they wanted to start. It is amazing how some of the families I have known for years suddenly have extra children who I've never met!! It is a minefield trying to find out children's names let alone their ages and who their real parents are.

The last 4 weeks have been a blur of new children, giving uniforms, buying resources and generally trying to get back into routine.  The children who were in Grade 4 last year have moved on and as happens every year I miss them a lot.

Teacher Sam with some of her boys
In January we had a very special visitor. Teacher Sam, who worked at Taonga for 3 years, came back from Mozambique for 10 days. It was so much fun to show her all of the changes and for her to see how much the children had grown and changed.

We are also very excited as we have our first "Taonga Baby" Teacher Angela had her first child, a little girl, at the end of December. We are all so happy for Angela and are looking forward to baby Pauline starting school in 3 1/2 years time!

Aside from school Christine is still in the UK with Don. She is still waiting for her liver transplant. The waiting is long and difficult but we believe God knows what he is doing in this period of waiting even if we don't understand it at the moment. The boys are doing well. There are only 9 living at the farm now and they are generally working hard and behaving themselves.

Thank you for your prayers and support through 2018 and the start of 2019. We hope you are having as much fun as us so far this year!

                Grade 1 reading             Making models of the school     Cooking lesson in Grade 4
Grade 4 made chocolate crispy cakes Baby Pauline Robert and Teacher Sam

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