Week In Review
I apologize for not blogging as frequently last week, but I was working on adjusting to a new schedule, new faces, new stories and a new way of life. Fortunately I turned to my journal for reflection and documentation.
While we all participate in the common activities such as Rosary, Mass and assemblies, each of the four Fellows has different responsibilities and assignments each day. This variety provides for meaningful discussion and reflection at dinner upon the conclusion of our day. This past week I spent time with Class 3, which is actually comprised of Class 1 (with only two students), Class 2 and Class 3 all in one classroom. Thankfully, I was assigned to teach Creative Arts, so the lesson was possible for all of the various skill and maturity levels present in the one classroom. Coming from an American education system, it seems nearly impossible to expect one teacher to meet each child at her skill level with such a broad spectrum in one classroom, but with low enrollment rates for those particular grades, it is necessary. Class 3, 2 and 1 students have captured my heart in a unique way since their innocence seems yet to be spoiled by the tragedy which looms just beyond their comprehension.
It is in Class 3, that one can notice the similarities in childhood across national borders, however, as you interact with some of the older students, it becomes clear quite quickly that many of these young adults have witnessed and experienced more than most do in a lifetime. Much of the violence following the hotly contested Presidential election in 2007 has shaped these young adults and their outlook on life. Despite this sometimes repressed pessimism, though, there exists great hope and optimism at Our Lady of Grace School. Many Secondary students hope to attend university and work hard to achieve such lofty ambitions.
The faculty and staff of Our Lady of Grace and Father Tom’s Kids have been extremely gracious in their hospitality. This past weekend, we were taken for lunch overseeing the beautiful Lake Victoria and for a visit to the Impala National Park in Kisumu. They are eager to share their culture with us and we are glad to experience city life in a city very far from Providence and New York.
Mrs. Maria Casigrahi, the director of Fr. Tom’s Kids, has been both a gracious host and an enthusiastic recipient of Fellows ready to work in a development capacity. While all of the students at Our Lady of Grace Primary and Secondary Schools are sponsored through Fr. Tom’s Kids sponsorship program, the two organizations are distinct. Depending on sponsorship availability and means of the sponsor, some students at Our Lady of Grace are sponsored by Fr. Tom’s Kids through university, while others are only sponsored through Secondary School. The relationship between the two organizations is complicated, but we are working to clarify the details so as to create a more accessible website and brochure. We work on development items either on our own time, under Maria’s guidance, or during the day when we are not in the classroom or socializing with students.
I promise to write more frequently this week now that our schedule is more familiar to us .