Now I’m on fire. The younger students class teachers had to meet to discuss who would prepare and who would be served portions of porridge intended for younger children that have been provided by the county government in Kenya to combat hunger and food shortages as the result of a prolonged dry season and drought. While the teachers were meeting, I was left to languish once more; this time in second grade. I tried to teach some mathematics and failed epically. This is par for the course. The most troubling incident came when one child bounced another child’s head off the wall. After lunch, the regular teacher returned but the Christian religion education lesson was mine. The objective was to learn the Lord’s Prayer. I worked my way through it and stopped at “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I told them it meant asking for forgiveness and forgiving those who have wronged us. I then explained how they all trespassed against me by blowing me off while I tried to teach. I let them know they were forgiven and had nothing to fear. However for the process to be complete, they had to stand before the class and declare what they had done wrong. I brought up the child who hurt the other children first. As she stood there before the class, she struggled and struggled hard to say what she’d done. I put her at ease by reminding her that we all saw it, we all knew what she did. She just had to own it. In a quivering voice, she finally stated simply and beautifully what she did. I hugged her and sent her back to her seat where she collapsed onto her desk and cried. I circulated the room and called children up to also declare their wrong doing. The relief of the children after they unburdened themselves coupled with the putrefaction of those who had yet to be called up was entertaining to see. After about 6 children who I called up, two actually volunteered to unburden themselves. It felt like quite the transformative experience. At the end, I acknowledged the anguish that first child went through and declared that she would leave class today having become a better, wiser person. Let’s face it, growth like that isn’t meant to be easy.
In lighter news, I did a morning science tutoring lesson with class 8. One question was: how do you know your livestock is sick. They gave the right answers like loss of appetite and weight. When they finished, I said, “You forgot one. A healthy cow says ‘mooooo’. A sick cow says, ‘booooo hooooo hooooo’.” And I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. They looked at me absolutely puzzled.