This post is taken from the writings of visiting team member, Belinda Shelton.
We all had adventure today. We drove into a community to meet Pastor George. He and his wife, Jackie started Uzimatele Educational Center. This school was started in the slums because the Muslims built a training school in the community. The people are predominately christian and didn’t want their children being influenced by the Muslims so they asked Pastor George to start a christian school. He made a deal with the government to not increase the size of the training center for 6 months and give him a chance to start a christian school on the land. He was able to get the first building built before the 6 month deadline. (It’s built right behind the Muslim training center).
The first visible section of the school at the end of the dirt path. Note the white building in the background is the Muslim training school. The toilet is painted with signage for the school.
We met Pastor George at his house which is at the top of the hill. The school is at the bottom. As we walked down the long, dusty, muddy, rocky hill, we encountered cows, goats, dogs and all sorts of smells.
As we got closer to the school, several children from the community who don’t attend the school started following us out of curiosity.
As soon as we got on the school property, the students started peering out doors and windows.
As soon as we got on the school property, the students started peering out doors and windows. Soon they came out for recess and began grabbing our hands and hugging us. They found it interesting that we had hair on our arms and they would sometimes pull it.
I love their great big beautiful smiles. My heart was instantly warmed.
Melody began singing songs and the children joined in. It was so sweet to hear them sing about Jesus.
Cheryl read a couple of books to them while Jackie, Pastor George’s wife interpreted in Swahili. The children got involved by acting out stories of Jonah and Noah’s ark.
It was time for the children to go back for an hour of teaching before lunch. I went into Class 2 which is primarily 8-9 years old. The teacher, Elizabeth, had them greet me and ask what I did in the US. They were learning about wind in Science. Elizabeth would teach in English but would also give them a swahili translation. I think it is cool when they are learning two languages at one time.
There was a boy in the class who kept “flirting” with me. As I sat in the back of the room, he would turn around and give me a big grin over and over again. I have to say he stole my heart.
Belinda and teacher Elizabeth
During lunch our team visited with Jackie who shared the vision for the school in Gituamba slums and the needs they have. Stay tuned…..