Sunday, March 30, 2014

God's Dream 1

The partnership between St. Paul's Sunday School kids began with buying two goats. Next they sent seed packets with letters. Last year they bought a desk for the school and two pigs. This year they made two God Smiles on a Rainbow banners based on the book God's Dream by Desmond Tutu.

This inspirational book asks, "Dear Child of God, What do you dream about in your loveliest of dreams? Do you dream about flying high or rainbows reaching across the sky?"

Then it asks, "Do you know what God dreams about. If you close your eyes and look with your heart you will find out!". "Each of us carries a piece of God's heart within us. And when we love one another, the pieces of God's heart are made whole."

The love of our children reaches across the world and back shining a light on all that is good. I pray that each of you share this love with children in your home, in your community and throughout the world!

God's Dream 2

What a wonderful way to connect St. Paul's United Methodist Sunday School children with the children at the Urukundo Home and our community.

Two God Smiles on a Rainbow banners have found a home here in Rwanda. They will hang at our worship area and the boys dorm where we hold evening devotions.

The children here are already preparing a banner for St. Paul's kids! We began the handprints with some of the younger kids ages 4 months - 11 yrs. Now we await the secondary school teens who will come home the end of next week.

Next Sunday the banner will be blessed at worship before it begins it journey home with me.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Color & Shapes 1

I had worked with teacher David last year so he was ready for some new ideas for teaching. Nina stepped right in to work with David and other teachers, Abigail and Alexi, to review colors and shapes.

There was even time to be silly while learning. After the teachers reviewed colors and shapes the PAINT CHIPS would come out!!! See the second half of the story, kids making colorful art.

Thank you hardware stores in State College for all the supplies!

Color & Shapes 2

What amazing artwork was created by these 4-5 year olds. Give them something as simple as paint chips and a blank piece of paper and wow the colors became something special.

These are what we are providing for teachers to continue to spark fun and play and creativity in their classrooms. EDUCATION IS FUN!!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

ABC Book 1

What fun to have children share common projects across the world. That's what our classroom partnerships are all about. The ABC Book is a joint project with two classes at Houserville Elementary School.

I decided to have two books made. One would have words associated with Rwanda such as B is for Baskets, C is for Chameleon, O is for On my Head and U is for Umuganda (community service day). The other book the children could chose which word they wanted to use with the help of their teacher.

The Rwanda book had difficulty with having a children do Umuganda so they changed the letter U to Umbrella. During the teacher meeting the teachers said they should not overlook the importance of Umuganda.

The teachers chose to create a new project. A book about Umuganda where they would discuss the importance of this day then in groups in one class draw and write about it to share with classes in the US.

Creativity continues to grow!!!!

ABC Book 2

The children were so creative writing about the letter they were assigned. The photos speak best!!!

Ignace and Irene, Primary Grade 2 teachers, collected the project and shared the final ABC books at one of our daily teacher meetings. They shared the process which began with the children asking their parents to help them come up with words for their letter. Then in class they drew in pencil and colored it, which is a usual process.

Our teachers are interested in having Grade 1 do this project before the end of the year. Thank you Houserville Elementary School teachers and children for partnering on this fun project!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dental Care 1

Urukundo Children's Home and Learning Center continues to reach out to the community and build relationships. Providing dental care is a new endeavor. You already read about Dr. Eulade who is the young dentist that is giving of his time on Saturdays. Next will be a teaching program for those wanting to work in dental offices. Knowing Arlene this will happen in the near future.

But for now much needed dental care is being provided. Carol Baney arrived on a Friday and was in the clinic on Saturday morning. She had worked in a dental office for several years when she lived in D.C. and was ready to step right in. One day here and already found a new niche.

The school children have been seen so now adults will be seen. They find out by word of mouth and signs on posts along the road. They arrive around 7:30 and are singed in by Tresor our 18 year old working towards going to university. A card is filled out to follow their care.

People are seen on a first come first serve basis. There is no preferential treatment based on who you know.

People waited patiently on one of the dorm porches as the final patient would be seen at 1:15pm. Several were sent away until the next Saturday. Yes the clinic was open from 8:00 until 1:15. A long 5 hour day for everyone.

Don't you love the Tiki Hut clinic?

Dental Care 2

Without the support of dentists in the US we would not have had the necessary equipment and dental supplies to provide the care needed. We are quickly going through sterile gloves, 2X2 gauze (not sure we can get here), novocaine, amoxicillin and ibuprofen. Most we can get here but funds are needed.

The first clinic occurred the Saturday before I arrived and 29 children from Urukundo Home and our school were seen. The following Saturday I was here to see 33 children treated and last Saturday 49 patients ages 2 years to 76 years. That meant 23 children and 26 adults.

One man had been in pain for years because of a cracked tooth and the nerve was still exposed. He actually got down on one knee to thank Arlene. She is so against that and quickly asked him to rise. They shook hands and he left and all working in the clinic were speechless and had tears.

Arlene says, " I am a small pebble in a big pond with the ripples of others extending out."

I see Arlene as a healer of hearts and souls, where the unseen are seen. Where they are given hope. And where she provides opportunities for others to be angels in this world.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Market 1

Saturday was market day for Cecelia our cook. She agreed to take Nina and I with her. At 9:30 off we went with me carrying containers of milk from our new cow. We would sell it to a local shop.

We visited several other shops for potatoes and ground peanuts. Next was a home of a young woman where we would purchase avocados and cassava flour. All along the walk were amazing views.

Next we would head back towards Urukundo to visit the local market right across the street. Nina and I followed on the heels of Cecelia who was all business. In Rwanda most walk with a slow, slow pace. Not Cecelia. She had us moving right along to get everything bought and back home.

The market is always an experience. Groups of children would gather round us. Because Cecelia is so well known, I was allowed to take some photos. Beautiful weather, friendly Rwandans, smiling kids and colors all around made it a wonderful morning!!!

Market 2

Our morning shopping with Cecelia continued through the local market. Beautiful vegetables of carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, cabbage, beans as well as fruit were on display.

Nina enjoyed seeing so many welcoming Rwandans and the colors of the bountiful produce.

One man was grinding greens used in making a sauce, almost like a soup. It was made of cassava greens, pinari leaves, green pepper, celery, onion. It would be mixed with a little tomato paste. A strong flavor but good with beans and rice.

After all the shopping Cecelia hired a man to take all she bought by bicycle to her kitchen.

Great meals would await us!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Prayer Shawls

Thank you St. Paul's knitters. I am humbled to be the one to bring your beautiful prayer shawls to Rwanda again this year.

Today Arlene took several to worship for the elderly women who worship with us. She brought one woman forward and presented it to her. What a huge smile and a wonderful blessing she gave us.

Then I was finally able to present one to Benjamin's 78year old mother, Bernadette. He is our builder and handyman. Carol, Nina and I walked 1 mile on a dirt road to her house. She recognized me from previous years and gave me a warm Rwandan greeting.

The blessing on each shawl says:
May God touch your heart with peace,
May God guide your soul to freedom,
May God fill your world with hope.

I wonder who else will be wrapped in your prayer shawls.


Another project we worked on was a counting book. Grace Lutheran Preschool made a book and we worked on one in teacher Theogene's Preschool class. First he read a counting book called One Gorilla to review numbers one to ten.

Then they went outside to look all around. Coming back inside they were asked to look around their classroom too and name objects. This gave them ideas of what to draw.

With a classroom of 28 children, three books were made. Thanks goodness there were enough of us to help in the class.

Kids drew, pasted and wrote the number. Afterwards they gathered in a circle to share their number.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I Spy 1

The server has been down and electricity spotty so bear with me as I have a lot of catching up to do about all the Classroom to Classroom Partnerships and the daily teacher trainings I have been facilitating over the past week.

One of the first projects was sharing I Spy. Two 3rd and 4th grade classes at Houserville Elementary School worked on this. Teacher Mark Smeal was open to this as Cooper Albert a 3rd grader and from my church at St. Paul's shared about the work I do in Rwanda. I visited their class and the fun began.

Mark created this teaching project and presented it to me before I left for Rwanda. The kids in his class are excited to see what the kids in Rwanda will send back.

Viateur, a 1st grade teacher quickly said he wanted to do it. He showed his students the I Spy pages then had then go outside to talk about what they can see and what they might need to use their imagination for. The came back to their desks and were each given a page to loom for objects matching the words.