04.08.2011 - 04.08.2011
Happy birthday to me! I, Brenna, had the wonderful privilege of spending my 25th birthday in beautiful Namibia. I couldn’t have asked to a better way to celebrate.
We got up bright and early to spend the day at school – the second of two days. We were all placed with one teacher at either at St. George’s Primary College (a private school for pre K through grade 7) or A. I. Steenkamp (public school for kindergarten through grade 6). We were each placed in our areas of interest which included pre primary, elementary, social studies, and special education.
I was placed at St. George’s with two different grade 2 teachers and spent some time with the special education teacher. At the very beginning of the day the staff members get together and share announcements and devotionals led by the Head of Prep (principal in the US). The teachers presented me with a carnation and sang happy birthday to me. After the staff meeting, all of the students gather for assembly. Assembly takes place outside and each class lines up by their teachers for announcements. They also recognize birthdays during this time, and so I was called up to the front for the whole school to sing happy birthday!
St. George’s is a Christian school and so after assembly some grades went to chapel for prayer, sermon, and worship. The children were very well behaved and seemed to truly enjoy singing and praying together.
Spending time in the grade 2 classrooms was a delight. Both of the teachers that I got to observe were excellent examples of what educators should be. The children had the time and resources to work at their individual levels of ability while maintaining a sense of community learning.
Having spent yesterday with the students in my classrooms, they were well aware that it was my birthday. I was completely showered with birthday cards and hugs. The children were all so sweet and joyful that it was hard to leave them at the end of the day.
School ended at 1:00pm and we headed over to visit an organization called Family of Hope around 2:00pm. Family of Hope provides tutoring, games, and meals for children who live in the poorer areas of Katatura. When we arrived there were about 15 tables full of children of all ages playing games and talking together. We met with the director and one of the teachers who volunteers and discussed their struggles and achievements. The organization is a great representation of the bond within these communities and the responsibility they take on for caring for one another.
Selma Shejavali, a woman who has been working on a project to document the oral story telling of communities in Namibia. She shared with
us the importance of storytelling within families and communities and how much of their history is passed on through these stories.
We invited the teachers that we worked with over for dinner and had a delicious meal and great conversation with two teachers from St. George’s and one teacher from A. I. Steenkamp. And there was a surprise birthday cake at the end of dinner! The wonderful CGE staff had baked me a cake for my birthday and my friends carried it into the room singing.
This day was wonderful for everyone and it was easily the best birthday I’ve ever had.