First Time at JBFC: Getting to Know the Girls

March 21, 2013 4:05 pm Published by

On our second night, we walked over to the Girls’ Home dining room to meet the girls and have dinner. Having been warned that the girls would be shy at first, I pulled out a children’s book I’d brought along, about Lazy Lion who can’t be bothered to build himself a house for shelter from the Big Rains, and was surrounded by 4-5 girls.

 I read the book out loud first, and then asked the kids to take turns reading. Several different groups of kids drifted in and out, so we probably went through the book three or four times as children jockeyed for position and I tried to keep the book in the light so we could all see.

 Then I asked the children around me how old they were, and I shared pictures of my children that I had brought with me (picking apples, at a pumpkin patch, in our crayon Halloween costumes), and showed them a campus poster of Deerfield.  Danny, one of Chris’ sons,  pointed to the Civil War memorial that is shown on the poster, which led to an impromptu history lesson, and I was impressed with his understanding and curiosity.  

The children had all changed out of their school clothes and played around the room until mealtime was announced. Dinner was cooked cornmeal, which the kids balled up with their fingers like playdough and dipped into beans, and some delicious cooked greens. 

After dinner the girls arranged themselves into four rows and sang several songs for us in amazing range and harmony (a couple in English and a couple in Swahili), and then led us through a prayer session… “Praise the Lord – Amen! Praise Him Again – Amen!” 

This is a series of blogs written by Julia Rivellino-Lyons, a history teacher from Deerfield Academy in Massachussetts, describing some of her experiences from her first visit to JBFC’s campus in Tanzania. Julia is part of a team of five teachers from Deerfield who are spending their two-week Spring Break learning about JBFC and helping train JBFC teachers. 

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This post was written by Mainsprings