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Meize Archives - St. Stephen's University

Professor Anglais

By | All Things Travel | 2 Comments

Teaching English – I knew that it would be one of my major challenges in coming to Iris. Limited school supplies, no curriculum to rely on, and very little teaching experience.  I wondered “how can I effectively teach African children English?” I knew that this would have to be a work of grace.

Two months into my internship there is good news. English lessons have been going great! Teaching has been one of my favorite activities here at Iris.  I developed a curriculum, and with each new week comes creative ideas for lesson plans. Like I mentioned above – it has been a work of grace.

In preparations for classes, God has been helping me to think creatively. In a small but meaningful way, I am witnessing the promises of Proverbs 3:6, “in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (King James language – it ‘s a favorite of mine).  If anyone would like, I’ll tell you about  these ideas, and timely provisions, when I get back.

My students range from toddlers to teens; but they’re all (mostly) infants in their understanding of the English language; yet are progressively learning quite well.  They have acquired the ability to speak or recite: basic conversational skills, numbers, body parts (head and shoulders song – they love it), identifying common objects,  meal times and food dishes, etc. Seeing their growth in  language skills is one of the most rewarding aspects to this internship.

Before and after classes is one of my favorite times of the day. The kids have been teaching me some of their sweet indigenous dances (I teach them to break-dance),  games, and language skills. They also like to hang off of me, lots of them, I am their jungle gym at times. Ha.

But what really gets me about these kids is their ability to laugh. They don’t get upset with little annoyances, they giggle. These kids, who have become my friends, are teaching me the importance of letting life’s little annoyances go, and releasing them over to laughter. Why get upset over the little stuff when we don’t have to? Life is better when we try to embrace it with more joy.

OK, I would like to make one final note. Does teaching English really make a difference to these kids living in a village on the outskirts of a city in the Northern Parts of Mozambique, Africa? Definitely. Mozambique is a developing nation, and their educational system is weak but getting better. The kids are taught both Portuguese (a remnant influence of their colonial past), and more recently, English  in their public schools. This is great, for in an ever increasing globally connected world the universal language of communication is English. This opens doors like the possibility of getting a higher education in their own country, as well as abroad. This in turn opens the door for job opportunities and leadership positions in their own county and in the world around them.

–> I have included some pictures from my Meize morning class.

Touch your head, touch your foot, now jump up and down and turn all around.

Meize morning class.

Part II: Pemba Highlights

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Iris Ministries was founded by Rolland and Heidi Baker back in 90’s. Both of these people inspire me in their Christian faith. The ministry in Pemba operates as an orphanage/church plant/ indigenous pastor training/missionary school/ village feed/ and a lot more. I am staying at their main base, but they have many throughout the country.  This base is approximately 75-100 acres in size and is located right next to the Indian Ocean.  How neat is that?  I love the ocean! I am happy to be here during the rainy season (even though it has rained very little) as the land is now green.

The missionaries here inspire and encourage me by their walk with God. They are spiritual, but very down to earth.  I have been able to meet lots of missionaries and become friends with them because it is a slower time at Iris.

My duties include helping out in the kitchen and teaching English to children.  In the kitchen, I mostly hand out plates to the children and collect them at the end of meals. I have also been going to a nearby village called Meize.   Meize is where I am teaching English to 35 kids so far.  The kids seem excited to be excited to learn English, and I am happy to help them learn. However, I am a bit nervous as there is no set curriculum so I’ll need more of God’s grace for thinking outside of the box.

In a surprise turn of events I’m also helping with prison ministry. I forget how this all came about, but last week I found myself in a truck headed for jail. We were there to preach, pray for the sick, and give food. This was a bit of a stretching experience, but God is good and was faithful to give me strength.  I enjoyed my time there. The inmates weren’t intimidating, more welcoming than anything. Being in prison and praising God with the inmates was an amazing blessing. African’s have great voices and love to sing.

The last thing that I’ll mention involves hugs. The kids here . . . love them, especially the little ones. Sometimes when kids come up to me they open up their arms and smile, as if to say, “pick me, pick me.” Their needy eyes make picking them up such an easy decision.

Blessings,

Geoff