I am one week in to my time in the Kanyama community where I will be spending the remainder of my time in Zambia as a YAV. The Banda family has graciously welcomed me into their home with open arms and loving hearts. I am now living with two new parents, an aunt, four new sisters (one of which is away at university), three new nieces, and one new nephew.
My host family, much larger than my family back home, has been wonderful. The younger children were very cautious of me at first, but to my relief, have started to get used to and warm up to me. They have been trying to get to know me as much as possible, and I them.
Though we have encountered numerous language barriers, I have equipped myself with a dictionary and my language book, and am currently trying to walk around, jump over, duck under, and overcome any obstacle that stops me from communicating with the people I now surround myself with.
I greatly look forward to seeing these relationships grow into the working of a family with a new member added to the mix.
The Kanyama congregation of the CCAP Church, where my new host father is also the pastor, have opened their doors to me. There is such a warm presence in the church, it feels rather homey. I have also become a part of the praise team for the church, and sang with them my very first Sunday in the community. I am thankful to be surrounded by young people who are as excited to have me there and learn from me, as I am from them.
I have also started working at the CCAP Kanyama Community School. That has been a whole new realm of difficulty. Let me start off by saying that the students are wonderful, and the other teacher is very kind. I love working with students again, and I love that I am back into a routine (of sorts).
However, it has also been quite the struggle. School hours are very different, with multiple long breaks built into my day. (We break from 10:00-110:00 am for breakfast every day, then again from 12:00-2:00pm for lunch.)
I have also struggled to realize what kind of a teacher I am in Zambia. I know who I am in the United States, but who am I here? I have been trying to take in the ways of the other teacher at my school, trying to learn from her and how she interacts with the students. However, there is such a contrast in my method of teaching and hers that I am struggling to understand where to meet in the middle.
It’s also interesting teaching multiple different grades at the same time. We only have two classrooms in the school, so each classroom holds three grades each. The children in the classrooms range in understanding of the material, and of me. Some students speak English pretty well, however others do not. I’m doing my best to close the language gap, but I am hoping that will come as my students continue to teach me throughout my time here.
This year is going to be one of adjustments, challenges, growth, exploration, and new friends.
Ici n’ciani nkulinga muli awiri – In order to learn something, I need other people.