We’re here in Burundi to teach at Hope Africa University–finally! At first it felt like we jumped right in with both feet. I was asked to present something to the other English professors at a seminar the first week we arrived. Randy began making rounds at the Van Norman Clinic (across the street from HAU), writing lectures in French and going to meetings.
It had been awhile since I had been in front of a classroom, so there was a good deal of apprehension on my part, especially not really knowing what would be helpful since I am a newcomer to both this situation and the subject matter. To my great relief the teachers were welcoming, gracious and interested. I was thankful to find they understood what I was presenting and I enjoyed the experience very much.
Classes with students were to begin a week later. I was to have two classes of English. The first day I arrived to teach I found the classroom had been double booked but there were no students and only a few desks. It looked like this.
The University is growing rapidly so the demands of registration, classrooms, scheduling and even enough desks are all daily challenges especially as the new semester gets underway. I was advised to be patient because with all these issues it can take a week (or two) to get all the classes, students and registration settled. So for the next week I waited. I tried to rest in this verse from Ps. 94:19 “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy” rather than get stressed out while waiting. I received news of a few changes in days and times for my classes, which were actually more to my liking. Then voila! A room. Desks.
Students! Eager students who want to learn. For most of them this is there first year at college. Many are Burundians but there are also students from Rwanda, Congo and several from Turkey. This week my challenge is to learn to pronounce their Kirundi names, which average about 12-15 letters, mostly vowels, if I’m even going to take attendance.
I’m so thankful to have begun teaching. I’m thankful for the students. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with the teachers and engage in the work God is doing here. I’m thankful for new beginnings!