Friday, September 17, 2010

9 Months of Baylor

Sorry for my lack of posts lately.  We just got our good friends, Scott and Cheryl McFaddin, off to the airport after a fantastic two-week visit.

But this post is about Baylor.  I realize I haven't had much in the way of updates about her recently and that I need to appease the grandparents.

So, here it is.

Baylor is now over 9 months old.  She's 28 inches tall and weighs 17.4 lbs.  That puts her in the 57% and 19%, respectively.  I've decided she's on the skinny side because she never stops moving.  She's becoming an expert climber, already able to scale the couch and nearly escape the pack n play.  She took her first steps last week.  Her record is two.  She seems to prefer crawling, as she can move that way both quickly and easily.  I'm not sure when she'll decide walking is worth the extra effort.

She also thoroughly enjoys eating.  I'd be amazed at the amount of food she can pack away except that I've seen Brett eat, so I suppose it's only natural for her.  Her favorite food continues to be banana, and she'll eat anything if it's mixed with banana.  She's also a big fan of grilled chicken, butternut squash, yogurt, and anything that is a fruit, even papaya, which tastes like feet.  She likes to feed herself and is sometimes pretty good at it.  She's also discovered where I keep her puffs in my bag and will dig them out, pop off the lid, reach inside, pull them out and eat them until I take them away, which she does not like.  Food isn't the only thing she likes to put in her mouth though.  Actually, she'll put pretty much anything in there.

Baylor is a very loud girl.  She babbles all day long (another trait passed on by her father) and generally does not do it quietly, which recent visitors Scott and Cheryl can attest to.  She can say things that are words, but she doesn't know they're words, so we don't count them.  We're working pretty hard on getting her to say Baba, though.

Baylor is not a good sleeper, and still does not sleep through the night.  We are tired.  Rare are the moments we can enjoy times like these.  But we love her all the same, even sleepy.

Here is the most recent family pic, taken over a river that was suppose to have crocodiles and hippos, but didn't.

Maybe next time.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

English Class

I never intended to teach English here in Geita.  With all the other pressing needs to meet, in addition to sharing the Good News, it just never crossed my mind that I would spend my time doing something that, to me, seemed unimportant.  When we moved here last September I would ask people in town what they felt were their greatest needs and about four times out of five the first answer was better access to water and the second was to learn English.  Better access to water is a huge problem to tackle and would like to help with it, but know it could take years.  Teaching English, though, now that is something I can do.

The ability to speak English here is the chance for a better life.  It would be difficult to be admitted to high school here without English and there's no chance of going to college without it.  By learning English you can work in the tourism industry, one of Tanzania's largest industries.  Speaking English makes you marketable.  It gives you an edge against other applicants.  Education and jobs are scarce here, so anything you can do to improve your chances is another step closer to ensuring you can provide a home, food and education for your family.

So about 4 months ago, I started my first English class.  I have 8 students, all adults, who come faithfully every week (though maybe a little bit late), do their homework and practice speaking with each other throughout the week since there are so few other English speakers to try their new vocabulary out on.  We have no books, and on occasion I have had to resort to writing on an old box because there wasn't any paper and once in the dirt outside because we had a problem getting in the classroom.  No one seems to mind that much.  Instead of giving them a worksheet, I write their practice sentences on the board and they copy them down in their notebooks.  Markers here have short lives.  I go through about 3 per class.   People have been asking when I'm going to open another class.  I'm hoping to do that later this fall.  We're looking for a better classroom situation.  I enjoy teaching the class; it's a lot of fun.  Sometimes you just never know what you'll end up doing.