Saturday, August 8, 2009

First Days of School

Well, I have had my first days back at school in a few years, and they started off pretty good. I think I am a little stricter in my classroom management, but I feel confident that they will learn that this is in their best interest. The kids are pretty good kids and it is interesting, having so many different cultures in class. I am trying to fight making snap judgements about cultures and the attitudes of their culture that is instilled in kids. I am hoping to just love on each of them, where they are. Many of the students really don't have adults really paying attention to them as they have been raised by maids and parents that are not involved at all. I know I will learn more about this and will blog more about it in the future. The first days involved going over rules and expectations and teaching the basketball game Knockout. I was able to play with the kids and ask them questions while in line. Of course they were all rooting against me, but thankfully I held my own pretty good, even though I am embarrassed to say that I got beat by a group of 11th grade girls. I told them that they couldn't tell anyone. I am going to have my hands full with the 12th grade class. Besides, the usual too coolness of seniors, this class seems to have been pretty notorious for being apathetic and just plain poor attitudes. I feel confident that I can win the majority of them over.

I am at full speed recruiting kids to be involved in the basketball program that starts next week. I am also working on coaches, and practice gyms for the six teams that CCA has. I spent one day last week with my Irish elementary PE teacher, Simon, trying to find some gyms. It is humbling relying on somebody to translate everything for you. We thought we had found two, only to find out we couldn't use one of them. We are pursuing a few more places, and working on a practice schedule so that is what is keeping my plate full. Once we get some logistics behind us, then I hope to start working on some ways to do outreach with our sports teams. One thing, that I hope to get good feedback with is having some of the senior basketball players help coach the Sub 12 basketball teams. I think it will be a great experience on both sides.

I especially have been getting to know some of the other staff at the school and it is great starting to meet other like minded people from all over. They all have a different story and background and we look forward to getting to know them better. It is amazing how you can get along with just about anyone when there aren't a lot of choices, so you focus on similarities instead of looking at why you might not be able to be friends. It is great hearing and seeing the heart of different people and how they ended up in Panama.

Clare bought Field a walker to sit in since he started crawling. He is getting around fast in that thing. I know it is not going to be long before he is walking. He is pulling himself up and crawled up a couple stairs the other day. The girls are still having fun with their cousins, but they have been quite a handful the past week. Hopefully, we will get into a routine and schedule soon enough for their sake and our sanity. We did go to a Panamanian zoo today with another family. It wasn't quite the same as a zoo in the US. They were all animals native to Panama, and it was like they found the animal in the wild and put a cage around it. We got to see a jaguar, parrots, nellkehs (which we see everywhere and is kind of a cross between a rabbit and rat but the size of a small dog), toucans, turtles, a very large crocodile, caymans, monkeys in a cage a foot away, deer, some animal that looked like a mini hippo with an anteater face. It was a fun adventure.

We are learning how much more complex it is to getting things done here in Panama compared to the US. For example, I needed to get a simple paper notarized for our shipping of things. Where in the US, I could go to a bank and get it notarized for free, here I had to go through a lawyer and pay $20 for the notary and then the lawyer a $20 fee. That is just one example, and add to that the language barrier, and God is teaching us some serious patience and how to roll with the punches. We had dinner with a couple tonight that is working on adoption laws and the orphanages here in Panama and we were discussing the difference in our Western "get it done" culture and the "manyana" culture of Panama. It is interesting how both are in God's timing and plan. God loves us all, and there are people with both mind sets doing His work. We cant do anything faster than God's plan, and it is in His hands. I am finding comfort and rest in that.


  1. I appreciate your comment that you can't do anything faster than God's plan....I'll think on that a lot this week. Guy and I will be praying for you in this start of school....we remember what that was like! So fondly, Denise

  2. You have to go on the Crossroads website and see the staff picture they have for you, You look so different. Hope all is well...
    Miss you!