The five major classes I am teaching are P5 and P6 English, P5 mathematics, and P5 and P6 Religious Education / The Story of the Bible. In both the English and math classes, there seems to be a disparity between the students who understand the material and those who do not (especially in English). Although the majority of those doing poorly simply do not care, they are all amazing kids with whom I am looking forward to having more fun. Last night at around nine, I had to go for a "short call" (bathroom) and as I was going to the latreens, I stopped by the boys' dormitories and went to their window. As I was approaching, I started making lots of noise and they all became very scared. As I stuck my head in the window, they screamed but then said, "Oh it's just Ben. We thought you were a nighty dancer." The nighty dancers, as I understand it, are a legendary group of people who come and dance around the huts of Africans and then eat the children. He supposedly dances naked with a skirt made of bones. When they were explaining it to me, they also demonstrated how the nighty dancers dance. It was, by far, one of the funniest moments of 2009. As I was leaving, Francis (my favorite) goes, "Ben, you don't fear the nighty dancer?" Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh it was so funny.
On a more serious note, SMK has given me pretty much free reign on Religious Education which is great. Thus, we are going through Genesis 1-11, then Romans 1-4, and then Micah 4 and Revelation 21 to attempt to understand the overarching story of the Bible. So far, we have discussed creation up the creation of man. We described God as triune (and thus loving), eternal, creative, and holy. Even in creation, we examined the idea that God redeems and creates something out of nothing as I told them that we would see the theme of "something out of nothing" as a major one in this story of God.
I plan on meeting with some of the older boys throughout the weeks to help them with their classes as well as further discuss our RE class. Living right on the orphanage gives me a great opportunity to be with them whenever we can as well as connect with them at levels other than the academic.
Also, on Saturday nights, I plan on starting a little church service with any of the kids who wish to come. I'm excited as this should be an opportunity where I can teach them some of the well-known Bible stories from a Christ-centered perspective.
As for my living conditions, they are pretty good. I have my own room with my housemates Edwin and Angela (they are married). They are very funny and I have enjoyed getting to know them. I do not have a working toilet or shower. For toilet matters, I use something called a latreen (spelling?) which is pretty much a built-in hole in the ground. Today, I bathed out of a basin, splashing water on myself which was fun until I tried it :). Yesterday night, I cooked for the three of us. Edwin and I went to the market to buy tomatoes and eggplant and fresh meat (just kidding, mother). But we did get the tomatoes and eggplant and actually made a good meal. I think Edwin and Angela will cook most of the time as I will be quite busy, but when I can, I hope to. All things considered, the living conditions are fine. I would much rather not have a shower and live among the kids than have a shower and not. They are so great.
I hope to give you a better update about Bible classes and groups and such once things really get rolling. My parents keep telling me there are many people who are praying for me. Thank you so much for praying and following along our journey. I am so thankful for the group of people God has established whose love is shown to me in many ways. I look forward to keeping you in the loop about this wonderful country!