HEAL is about showing God’s love to those around you, being transparent, learning to love, learning to let others love you, and truly living life with the people around you. Since I have been here it has amazed me how the staff and children love and love so well. They have welcomed and love me unconditionally with open arms. I love that the people who come into our gates have a chance to be loved for who they are and for how their Creator created them. These people are given worth and reminded of their worth daily. I have also never felt so loved for who I am, than how I am loved here at the James Place. The staff has taught me how to love others, but how to let people love me.
One of my favorite moments since I have been here was when I was sick. I had a terrible migraine, and had to leave work early to lie down. I was almost asleep when I was woken up by one of my students at my bed whispering to me. “Teacha Ope?” I was very confused on what was going on. She came and sat on the edge of my bed and said, “I want to pray for you”. I was shocked that she was so concerned that she came to pray for me. I was humbled by how my students love me, but in that moment I was even more humbled that God let me love and teach these sweet children.
There have been moments since I have been here that have been hard and discouraging, but in that moment I was reassured. I knew that I was exactly where I am supposed to be; doing exactly what God called me to do.
Every day at the James Place looks a little different. Thankfully I start every morning the same. I start with breakfast at 8:00am, and go to preschool at 8:15. Preschool goes from 8:15 - 10:00. During preschool I teach the reading, writing, and English station. I work with all academic ability levels. I love being able to push and encourage each of my students to their fullest potential; while they all might not be learning or mastering the same skills all of my students are thriving. I get to work with one other intern, and two other Ugandan teachers. I have loved being able to encourage the other teachers that I work with, not to mention the amount that I am learning from them. They are making me a better teacher, and I can’t thank them enough for that. Once 10:00 comes we bring the students outside for snack and P.E. Two times a week when the kids are at P.E. I go sit with the women in the beading program. I absolutely love these women! At 11:00 we come back to class. From 11:00-11:45 the two Ugandan teachers work with the students who are going to P1, and the rest of the class continues with activities that are appropriate to their academic level. At this time I pull two students to come paint with me. They don’t have an artistic outlet, so I have really loved watching their personalities come through their art. I think I love it more than they do! From 12:00-12:45 the kids all eat lunch, drink either milk or water, receive a vitamin, get bathed, and carried to naptime. It’s a packed full 45 minutes! After the kids are laid down, at 1:00 all the staff, interns, and women in the programs eat lunch. After lunch we do chores for an hour. I rotate between helping outside with chores and being in planning with the teachers. The kids wake up at 3:00 and get snack. At around 3:30 Preschool comes back in to the classroom to do some sort of activity. On Mondays we work on fine motor movement skills, Tuesdays is our creative day (the kids choose dress up almost every time), Wednesdays is our craft day, Thursdays we have the kids to play in the sandbox, and Friday is our fieldtrip day. At 4:30 all the interns begin tutoring the preschool students. We want our kids to be P1 ready! I love having time to work one on one with these kids. After tutoring we just play and read books to the kids while their parents get here.
No day is ever the same, and there is always something that comes up or changes our plans for the day. I wouldn’t change it though. The unexpected is what’s adding to our children’s education. I am so lucky that I get to work with the staff members that I work with. They make me smile, they love me, they have taught me so much. I have never felt so fulfilled in life, humbled, loved, and invested in. It gives me the strength to pour out to my kids, the staff, interns, and friends here on a daily basis. God is fulfilling me.