Our grade six girls came home from school the other day, piled onto my couch, and started to tell me about their new teacher. “He’s teaching us math and English.” Susan said in awe. “He’s going to teach me to read!”
“He’s a good teacher.” Sylvia followed with joy. “He’s going to teach us next year, too.” And Nora just beamed her gorgeous smile with absolute delight shining from her face.
Now this might seem like a typical conversation to you, for students coming home the first few days of a new school year, but let me tell you a little more of how the discussion unfolded. “You seem surprised,” I probed. The girls looked embarrassed. “Was your teacher last year different?” The three heads nodded vigorously. They went on to tell me how last year their teacher didn’t really teach them. They explained that he often didn’t even come to class.
Sadly, their story is all too true for so many students across Zambia. I could recount story after story our children have told, of days they rise and dress, prepare and walk to school, only to find their classroom empty and that their teacher hasn’t shown up. Just last week in a meeting with our high schoolers’ headmistress, she explained to me that school fees had gone up this year because they were building new staff accommodation on the school premises. She said, “I’m tired of excuses for teachers not being at work!”
This might sound crazy, and like they should just hire new faculty, but it’s a nation wide problem. Our children attend the best high school in our area, so the solution isn’t as simple as switching schools.
As Project Samuel we aim to raise-up children who will be catalysts in bringing change to their country and their people. We endeavor to equip them in the best way we can by supplementing here at home what they are taught at church and at school. We are committed to raising nation changers!
When I hear our kids tell me such stories my heart breaks, but it’s also filled with hope. How wonderful that our grade six students’ teacher this year seems to have a passion to teach, and how inspiring that these girls have such a heart to learn. What can our role be in championing this teacher? How wonderful, that the new headmistress, is making a change!
It’s easy to get discouraged sometimes, but instead I choose to be reminded of why we are here. God didn’t call us to set up Project Samuel here in rural Zambia because it’s the easiest place to run a ministry. On the contrary, everything we do seems to be filled with challenges, but He has called us here because He has a heart for these rural children and villagers. He hasn’t forgotten them or given up on them, and He wants them to have the opportunity to live life to the fullest.
So today, as we go into the second week of the new school year in here in Zambia, I’m reminded again of our purpose. This 2018 school year, we, as Project Samuel, will champion our children in mind, body and spirit. They will know that they are loved and believed in, and we will continue to strive to equip and raise them up to be the world changers we know they are!
By: Kim Vowell