i wish i had a picture of our first year. we only had 23 students, and our building was just that - one little building, 1 floor with 4 classrooms and an office. we now have 115 students, two stories with 9 classrooms and a huge "meeting hall", a kitchen and dining area and 10 people on staff.
i am in love.
but this is seriously the hardest job i've ever had in my life.
this year i've had to draw some pretty definite boundaries in my life. i've learned to say no. i've learned to be strong and direct. and i've learned more compassion than ever.
i've also learned just how blessed i am.
we now have a government code for our school, and we're working on becoming even more legal (yeah, i don't get that either). we are writing curriculum and training teachers and nurturing these treasures.
i spend a lot of time in the office, and not nearly enough time in the classrooms. but i feel productive. and i feel like the future really is bright because of the work we're doing.
i also spend a lot of time in the street. and visiting people. and i know that sounds like i waste a lot of time. but some of the most improvements we've seen in students come from these relationships - whether i've fomented them or a teacher has. getting parents involved is so important.
this week i spent a bunch of my time in the local public hospital - we had a slew of children in and out of overnight-care with respiratory and digestive issues (residual effects of living next to a landfill) and moms who just needed a little pick me up while they waited to see the pediatricians. i also found out that one of my university students is doing her practical hours in dentistry at our hospital, so i stopped by to see her as well.
these two little guys are "ours" by default - on the left was in the belly when we first met him and his mom took a pre-natal class with us. his cousins come to school. on the right was also still in utero when we met. we are praying hard for this family - baby girl is in the hospital because she's dehydrated, possibly slightly malnourished. a friend mentioned that she didn't even recognize mom the other day because she has lost so much weight.
if you can, keep our students in your thoughts and prayers. as the weather here gets cooler, and the landfill starts to burn more, we will see many more respiratory infections.