Everyday I go to teach in the afternoon. Each day as my car comes close to the school, children start dashing for the fence, pressing their faces close and shouting my name… Teecha Melan! Teecha Melan!
I drive through the gate, carefully navigating the lumpy ground, running children, construction workers, and materials for the new building.
It’s a bit nerve wracking. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children’s enthusiasm, but I do wish it was a bit further away from my tires :) As soon as I park, a multitude of faces and hands and feet gather around eagerly anticipating the moment I get out of the car and they can finally greet, touch, and hug me. It’s beautifully overwhelming each time. I very selfishly hope and pray it doesn’t get old for them, because it’ll never get old for me!
Each one is hungry for my attention and eager for my affection. And I’m amazed how much I love each of them. And how much that love has changed me these past years.
Before coming to Africa (and really even still!) I’ve had a great aversion to dirtiness. Not necessarily clutter, but filth. In fact, I remember not being very old before going to the park wasn’t quite worth the smell and feel of dirt on my hands and legs afterwards. I’d beg Mom for a handiwipe just as soon as I got in the car, desperate to get clean. So God put me in Africa. HA! There’s a certain level of peace you have to make with the dirt in general, and the realization that everything can be washed helps. But in general you still won’t find me getting dirty intentionally. Unless…. it’s with my kids.
Yesterday as we were acting out the story in Leviticus of Aaron bringing a sheep for Moses to slaughter as a sacrifice, my P1 students begged me to be the sheep. So down on my knees I went, choosing not to mind the sand grinding into my skin or the clinging of the bit of posho that was spilled at lunch. How they laughed! “You see Teecha Melan!” “You see the way she is making like a sheep!”
And as that class was my first of the day, I proceed from class to class the rest of the afternoon with the vestiges of dirt and posho that refused to be brushed away with just my hand. And I didn’t mind. Because let me tell you, those kids remembered which animal Aaron brought to be sacrificed. And they aren’t likely to forget anytime soon! :)
For them, I would choose to get dirty. For them, I would choose to use the outhouse. For them, I’m happy to have my hair (head and arm!) pulled, my legs bruised, my glasses scratched, and my body weary each evening. They are so worth it!!!