August is over, and that means that the first two weeks of school at Bingham are almost over too. It has been quite an adjustment after the summer.
The remainder of my summer was amazing as well. After New Zealand, I spent another couple of weeks in Ireland with family, which was really nice and refreshing. Another trip that I managed to make was a 3 day trip to Norway. One of my good friends from America, Devlin, who had been in Ethiopia for a year lecturing at the theological college, was on his way back home and decided to spend some time in Europe on his way back. He suggested that I join him on some of his adventures; I told him that I’d only come if it was somewhere I hadn’t been before. So we decided to go to Norway. I booked Ryanair flights there for a 3 day visit, and arranged to meet him. We brought a tent, hired a car, and set off. My father had brought me a poster back from Norway of a precarious rock a few years back, and I had always wanted to check it out. So I suggested we visit it. Devlin was keen, and also said we should visit a lake called lake Riskedahl, which is the same as his middle name (He has Norwegian ancestry). We spent an absolutely breath-taking three days travelling around Norway, camping wherever we found a nice spot, and taking stacks and stacks of photos. I would really recommend Norway to anyone, it’s definitely one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to.
First camp site
Devlin in lake Riskedahl
Second camp site
After returning from Norway, Devlin came to Ireland for a few days before his final trip back to America. I took him around some of the beauty that Ireland has to offer, though I think that it had a fairly tough act to follow :-) However, it was nice to spend a little more time with Devlin in Ireland.
I arrived back in Ethiopia on 6th August. I must say it felt really good to be back. Once I had put my bags down, and sat down in our house, it really felt like being home! Being back at my church here on the Sunday, reconnecting with friends I hadn’t seen in a couple of months was really nice too. Bingham orientation began on the Wednesday of that week, so I had a couple of days to settle down. Orientation lasted a week and a half, and was fairly good. Bingham had brought in an external professional development speaker to give some good ideas about helping make things interesting in teaching, he was very enthusiastic and vibrant, and all of the sessions were fun and engaging, to help show how our lessons should be I guess!
After orientation, we all got ready for school. There had been time set aside for lesson preparations during the orientation sessions, but as the IT coordinator, I had to help deal with some fairly major IT problems that often come with a new year! Anyway, suffice to say, I didn’t get very much preparation done before teaching started on Tuesday 16th August.
This year, I am again teaching three classes. This year, I’m teaching Grade 9 and 10 ICT (the GCSE years) as well as AS Computer Science. Unfortunately, the AS Computing course that I was supposed to teach, and that Bingham has always taught until now, was dropped by the exam board, so I don’t have very many resources available to me. Everything had been created for the alternative course. I also have one further hour of class every week. It’s quite a lot of teaching, I’m finding I have a lot of preparation to do, and I’m not getting to many of the IT tasks that I would like to. In some ways, I feel more enthusiastic about the IT coordination, so at times feel more inclined to take on an IT task rather than prepare for classes. I think this year will be another year where I’ll be stretched time wise; I’m really trying hard to guard my time and not take on too many extra tasks.
There are quite a number of new teachers this year, and it has been nice to get to know them. There is one new single guy, Josh, who is 24. In some ways, he reminds me of me when I initially came to Bingham at his age, he’s even living in the apartment on his own where I lived on my own for a number of months when I first came to Bingham. I’ve encouraged him to give some thought to living off compound, definitely something that made me think more about this country as a home. He’s definitely open to it!
Please remember me in prayer in these coming weeks as I re-adjust to the work load, and get used to being back at the front of the classroom. As the weeks go on, I’ll feel more comfortable with the students, and am already feeling more settled at the front of the class than I did the first week. However, things can quickly seem overwhelming when I have multiple tasks and things to remember running round in my head. At present I'm feeling a little bogged down again, and the familiar feelings of stress and fatigue are almost starting to set in some days. I'm finding that small setbacks that shouldn't faze me, or upset me are knocking me much more than I’m expecting. I really need God’s help and strength! One thing that is encouraging me is how much the students in my Grade 11/12 class seem to be enjoying it, I've had 3 students so far join because others have been saying how much they're enjoying it. I’ve also recently been encouraged by one of the new Rend Collective songs that we often sing in High School Chapel here. It’s called “The joy of the Lord is my strength”, and speaks about singing God’s praises in difficult times. These encouragements help to keep me going!!
The weather in Addis recently has been pretty crazy! We had a massive hail storm come in this past week, causing major chaos in the school, including blocking the drains which flooded our high school building. The Ethiopian staff were even amazed!
The School field
More pictures on the August Album here
I appreciate all of your prayers so much.
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