Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Kindy workshop

The head Kindy teacher for the 10 Kindy's in our language group (preschool and K that take kids age 3-6) called me last minute while I was in Vila and asked if I would take a day of their 2 week Literacy and Numeracy workshop the day after my return to Ambrym.  I was planning on a K-3 grade teacher workshop already so I agreed and Hallie and I walked to a neighboring village to teach for a day.  We went back for their 2nd week just to observe what all they were learning and doing.
 Mari Moti is the head teacher for all 20+ Kindy teacher.  The Dept of Ed is really stepping up their game with Kindy and are requiring more training of teachers.  Thanks to a ton of materials developed by World Vision a few years ago along with other materials developed by Kindy teachers in Vila, they have a great foundation of materials to teach from.
 Reviewing Rral alphabet sounds and the song Leibunu (to my right) wrote to accompany the alphabet book I made for the teachers.
Singing a bit of the alphabet song.
 I got my literacy ideas from Lyndal and they were similar to ones the Dept of Ed has the Kindy teachers doing.  This is a matching activity for young kids to match letters with letters.  Mari Moti has one matching opposites (big/small, up/down).
 For part of the workshop I asked the teachers to work in groups to write songs.
 Five different groups wrote songs about assigned topics: weather, numbers, colors, shapes, and animals.  It seems like these days every other person here has a smart phone or access to one, so I recorded the songs to pass out to teachers to be able to sing at their individual Kindy's later.
 Hallie patiently sat through a full day of a workshop sitting on a cement floor in a skirt listening to a language she doesn't know, and helped with preparations for some of the activities!
 Teachers making the matching activities I showed for literacy and numeracy.
 As part of the rest of their 2 week project, teachers had kids from the community come so they could test out their new songs, poems, and literacy and numeracy materials.

A version of Old Macdonald in Rral language that Leibunu (the Kindy song master!!) made up to teach the kids.
 Very creative local things were used to keep kids engaged!  This is a music station around the room for one portion of the Kindy classroom time. 

A papaya leaf stem was slit to let the squawk out!  Hellen sang while the kids sang, squawked, or drummed along.

A sewing activity for dexterity.
Jenita leads a market activity for practicing money.
Gluing leaves.
Tracing animal shapes.

All the Kindy teachers.
Local handmade puzzles the teachers made themselves with wood and saws!
"Sewing" activities.
Pick Papaya action poem in Rral language.  Apparently the teachers translated it from an English song called Pick Papaya.  Anyone know the tune?  None of them knew it and they asked me but I didn't know so they just say it.
Seeds and coral for counting manipulatives.
Colors made from local flowers, plants, and charcoal.

Local language names for shapes.
Rral language names for colors.
Using local materials to make patterns for numeracy.

A collection of some of the books I've made along with books the teachers made.  I also had the teachers write and illustrate new simple books that I'll print and distribute later this year.
Story making blocks.  Again, made by teachers themselves.

For any of you wanting to hear language or a Kindy discussion about animals in language, here is Annonciata teaching at the workshop.

Lord-willing, I'll be teaching another workshop to teachers of grades 1-3 in November sometime.  The literacy work we're doing is to Lord-willing see a new generation of readers in their own language be reading God's Word and understanding it!  Please pray for wisdom for me as I teach these workshops that I would be understood and the materials would be useful for these early childhood educators teaching the next generation of North Ambrym kids!


The Ellis family joined us on Ambrym a month before we left for our year of furlough in the US.  We are so glad now to be back and able to enjoy friendship, fellowship, and planning with them!
It's great for us to be able to get out of our village and be able to go somewhere else, or they come to us.  They are about 1 1/2 hour drive north of us and so we get to enjoy reaching a larger group of people by spreading out a bit.  Every 3 or 4 weeks we get together and we also celebrate birthdays and holidays together.  We praise God for teammates!!

And here's a couple random pictures of Addy:
 Playing with banyan trees.

Hallie is visiting!

We are so grateful to have Hallie visiting us from our home church in Montana in the US!  Houghton and I went in to Vila the end of September for meetings and to repack our 3 containers Grace Bible Church paid to send us.  In that same time, Hallie arrived.
 Hallie's mom, Vicki, accompanied her to Vanuatu but unfortunately didn't have time to come out to Ambrym island with us.  She spent a few days with us in Vila and headed back to the US the same day we left for Ambrym.

 Market sights in Vila.
Hallie is here to hang out with us until December 16, Lord-willing, and will be checking out Vanuatu life and what Bible translation is all about.  Please pray for her safety, health, and wisdom about where God would have her serve in the future.

Deep clean in Ambrym

When we leave Ambrym for resupplying in Vila every 6 months or so, we are usually gone from our house for 3-4 weeks at a time.  Upon our return, we typically have new battles with hoards of rats, spiders, mounds of dust and ash, and a bit of mold growing in surprising areas.  Being gone for 3-4 weeks is obviously a drop in the bucket compared to being gone to the US for a full year of furlough.  So Gretchen and I were not looking forward to the job ahead of us in cleaning up a year's worth of rats, spiders, dirt, rust, and mold.

So we were so so grateful that BuildAid went out ahead of us with Houghton to do a HUGE deep-clean of our house.  They washed curtains black with dirt and mold, filthy windows, swept out a year's worth of spiders and bugs, washed every dish and cloth and bedsheet and piece of clothing, scrubbed furniture, floors, and bathrooms, and allowed us to come behind with a much smaller job.  Even after their week of cleaning, there was still a ton to be done, (as you can see from the pictures below), but it was manageable and I think saved me a few melt-downs, to be honest!
 Rats ate all sorts of my plastic containers, baskets, and this dish brush.  Mold is AMAZING here and that's the white stuff that's coating my tongs and these plastic containers.
Even my wooden desk grew a ton of mold!

Because of acid rain and closeness to saltwater, we also have lots of problems with rust here.  Anything with a small spring inside (voice recorders, clocks, toys, etc) rusted completely and lots of our dishes and containers and even our ovens have rust damage.  We get regular reminders here not to store up treasure on earth where moth and rust destroy but to store up treasure in heaven!

Thank God with me for willing servants like BuildAid for their incredible and selfless service to us!

We've tried everything over the years in our battle with rats.  Houghton is always working to further rat-proof the house but there are always weak spots we can't do much about.  We've used normal traps, rigged up water traps, used poison, and in the last few years went with glue traps, which have been the most effective, but make a disgusting mess when they get drug around the house by our enormous rats here.  This time we decided to try a big full trap and I purchased one, but then a friend of ours in Vila offered to give us one of their cats to bring out.  Cats are few and far between in our village and don't seem to last long (kids are rough on animals here).  So far though, our cat (who they named Bluetooth), has done a fantastic job killing every rat to make it in the house and seems to be deterring any others.  In the 3 months we've been out on Ambrym, we've only had 5 or so in the house and he's caught every one (normally we'd have 5 just in the first few days of being back!).  So we're pretty happy with our little guy and hope he continues to stick around with us!

Working from Vila

In the months I was in Vila before the Richards arrived (March-June), I was able to do a variety of different ministries, reconnect with friends, and get back in the groove of Vanuatu life again.

A new family joined our group for just a short time and we hope and pray they come back again for good!  Jim not only put in an all new playing area for the kids on our Bible translation teams who come in and out of Vila, but he also gave a water safety orientation to Aaron, Jamie, and I the day he was leaving the country!
 Our director was away when Aaron and Jamie and their 3 girls came in to Vanuatu to begin their first term with our Vanuatu group of Bible Translators and Scripture Engagement workers, so I was able to do a lot of their orientation.  I don't have a picture with their whole family, but here is one of me with the girls and Jamie swimming in Vila one weekend!

 The missionary life is all about change and transition, saying hello and goodbye.  We had to see off Abbie after her 2 year term in Vanuatu.  I'll miss having her to hang out with when I'm in Vila!

Lyndal met with me for several hours and taught me some reproducible literacy tools I can use in upcoming workshops with K-3 teachers on Ambrym.
I got a reminder of the much more diverse types of mold that can grow in the tropics!  This is my cheese (despite being in the fridge!).
My friend Magreth is not often in Vila the same times I am (she works 7 month stretches in New Zealand) but she was around this time so I got to see her and her extended family.  A ton of these kids were just babies last time I saw them!
Mary helped me do some translation checking for the book of Mark in Rral (North Ambrym language) while I was in Vila.
Yanik from our village in Ambrym is in Vila for a few years getting training that we hope helps him work with us as a Bible translator.  He stays with Mary and his son Masing on his training campus and Evelyn stays with other family and visits them on the weekends.  Evelyn is Gwen's bestie so she enjoys seeing her when we're in Vila but misses playing with her every afternoon on Ambrym!
I got to catch up several times with Edwin and Janet, and their boys Jareth and Jotham.
 Several families from our organization were in town when I was around so we got together for fellowship and worship.
 When the Richards came, the kids first of all enjoyed their newly painted rental place and the new playground, but then Addy and Gwen found some bugs to adopt.  This one hissed constantly at Addy anytime she moved it around, but she figured those were happy hisses...
Through generous donations and a partnership with BuildAid, we have access to a truck on Ambrym.  We broke it in a bit in Vila before heading out to Ambrym.  BuildAid is the local owner but helps us out with shifting cargo and travel for work on Ambrym and it stays with us when they aren't in country.  Thanks to God for His provision through so many of you!