To begin, it’s been awhile, so I apologize. Life here has been moving full speed ahead, I’m hoping to get in a few posts today…sorry if I flood your inbox! I want to tell you a little story about something strange that happened a few weeks ago. I got to school right before 8:00am, like usual, and was informed that there would be a tour group from the UK coming to visit the school that morning. Alright, good to know. I was then informed that I would be giving half of the group, numbering about 30 total, a tour of the school. Ok, I can handle that. Then, I was told that I would be giving the entire group the PowerPoint presentation about Helen Keller School, a PowerPoint that I had seen once. I am certainly learning to go with flow here. The group arrived and I gave them the presentation. It was one of my less stellar performances, but no matter. After the presentation, the group was divided and we headed out for the tour. We visited a few English classrooms, a special education classroom, and the kindergarten and in each classroom, I felt something so weird.
As I was introducing these strangers from England to the students, I realized that I was thinking of them not as THE students, but as MY students. Not mine in the sense that they belong to me, but mine in the sense that I belong to them. I have now been at Helen Keller for about three months, and these kids have started to get to me; they are becoming a huge part of my community. The strongest sense of this came when I took the group into the kindergarten. The littles were sitting down in the kitchen for their mid-morning snack and when I walked in, they all yelled, “MISS SARAH!” It is hard to put into words the feeling of a welcome like that. Once the group had made their way in, the kindergarteners wanted to sing for them. What song? The Wheels on the Bus, of course. I spend one day a week in the kindergarten and knowing about my love of music, the teachers have asked me to use music to help teach the kids English. And what song have I been teaching them? The Wheels on the Bus, of course. Watching the students sing and do the actions for the tour group brought me such a sense of pride, but not in the way you might think.
I was so proud, not just because the kids were showing the group something that I had taught them, but because they were showing them something they had learned. We had done it together. The smiles on the kindergarteners faces while they were beeping the horn on the bus was more than enough to sustain me for quite some time. That morning was one that reassured that although life here is difficult on so many levels, I have community. Sometimes that community is my fellow YAGM’s and country coordinators, sometimes it’s the congregation at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, and sometimes it’s a group of four and five year olds who still don’t really know how to blow their noses. I don’t think that I could be more grateful for that.