Well, it has been a month since we have been back in Gembu now. I have been assessing students (ages 15 to 60) for reading and math and then placing them in groups by their levels and doing math and reading lessons in groups of 5 or 6. I had planned that this activity would start in fuller force when we returned this year and did start the first week we were here. I did not, however, realize how much time, planning, and focus it would take for me (at 53 years of age I could be a little ADD – Squirrel!). A month into it now and I am getting used to the schedule, but it still throws me when people drop by to greet me unexpectedly or show up for their group lesson very late. God is helping me to endeavor. Everything that gets done here in Gembu is because we have true partners that pray, invest, and love GECHAAN and what God is doing here.
We saw last year that our Technical Training Program Students that came to us with certificates that they had completed secondary school really had a huge gap if they would ever have their own business. Many couldn’t read, spell, or add two numbers together. We had to change our plan!
In March when the Edinbrook Church Group came a retired Reading Recovery teacher came and brought a wonderful curriculum that was donated by a variety of sponsors and taught me how to assess and teach lessons. I was a little nervous, but I love teaching so picked up on it OK and after a month of doing a lot of it feel I have a pretty good feel for how to proceed when planning each lesson and in assessing. While we were at Trinity Baptist Church in CT this year I had a wonderful time with Barb DeVries, the Pastor’s wife there. She sponsored some teaching supplies and a curriculum that can help me with higher levels of reading as well. In Thrift Stores from CT to MN I found wonderful magnetic letters, flash cards, and other hands on items to help me teach reading and math. In MN I got to spend time with one of my friends who was also a reading recovery teacher and she had some math games and other math resources that she had gathered, showed me how to use, and sent with me. What I’m trying to point out is that this whole math and reading training going on here is not me. It is US. I am the blessed one that gets to be here and see the lights go on and the smile widen when someone realizes they are reading and can spell those words as well.
Let me tell you one more partner in this training going on in Gembu. When we returned a month ago, our Director of Operations and his family joined us from Abuja back to Gembu. His wife and children have moved here to Gembu from Lagos. From the beginning. In classes and preparation Funmi (picture here working with students) has been there, helping people sound out words, go through the books and steps we use, and work with the group or students that need extra help while I work with the group. She has also learned how to teach reading and use the curriculum and resources we have here. I prayed for a Nigerian to help me with teaching, God answered. I enjoy Funmi so much and am so grateful for her help and friendship.
We even have a student that does not know ANY English yet, and is 15 and has never been to school. He is a sharp boy and his smile can brighten any day. He surprised me yesterday by greeting me with, “Good Afternoon, Ma”. So, with him we are working on English, reading, and writing right now, all of them very foreign concepts, but he has a smile and does his best. Yesterday I had him practice writing his name for about 15 minutes as he didn’t know how to spell or write it.
My point for today is this: When God shows you a need, tells you you need to do something about it, he also supplies a way. It takes communication and vision, but at the end of the day if God is in it, He makes the forward movement happen! We just have to do our part!
Wow friends, it has been a wild month for us all, hasn't it? On our journey the past 10 weeks we have had the...