In April we released our first edition of Recursos (Spanish for "Resources"): A Magazine for Teachers to a group of educators in El Salvador. Their response was wonderful, praising the work that kept them in mind and wrote a resource for them in their language. Since that time, we have been working on making it available to the other international regions where we serve.
Next up was East Africa. While English is the official language in Uganda, there are still significant linguistic differences between their English and ours, and the content that was originally written for a Latin American setting. We had to re-write sections that mentioned the prevalence of snacks or certain food groups that you couldn't find in East Africa, the terminology utilized for teaching and administrative staff, or certain cultural references that wouldn't be understood. While we've worked in East Africa for nearly two dozen years, translation was still an invaluable experience to learn still more about their language and culture. (We're blessed to have three Ugandans involved with our work in Nashville, one of whom taught at the school we were sending the magazine to!) At last, the edition was finalized and sent with our recent team in September. At that time, however, the teachers were not in school, so they received the magazine a short time later. Here, Lawrence Ssemakula -- G.O.D. East Africa cooperative and Head Teacher at St. John's School, recaps the teachers' response.
Lawrence Ssemakula writes:
First let me say: Even though we are miles apart, I am grateful to God for all that he's been able to do through you. Your great service is building up our lives and we constantly pray for you so that you can even do yet more as the LORD sees necessary for the good of this body of our Lord here in East Africa.
I wanted to let you know that teachers were grateful for the magazine. I was so glad as I watched their faces as they were inspired by Laurie Kagay's editorial letter where she spoke about seeing the hard work done by teachers as a child, watching her father teach primary school. They were encouraged that the hard work is not only necessary, but a good example to future generations.
They enjoyed the tips from the teachers at the Academy for G.O.D., because the ideas were so true! Gregg Garner's section on Multiple Intelligences opened their eyes! The teachers have been talking about how those play out in a classroom situation. Even personally, I liked it so much and I want to examine it further.
Rosemary Sherrod's section on history was so helpful to me, because I have been teaching East African history. I liked her approach of teaching by utilizing storytelling. This week I have been searching for images of slave trade during precolonial times, so that I can use them next week as I teach about slave trade and it's effects on the people of East Africa. She inspired me to realize the importance of learning the lessons of those who have gone before, and learning where you came from. After reading her contribution I want to acquire some notebooks so that also my children not only will be learning about history but slowly can begin to write it, and appreciating it more meaningfully.
My wife Josephine liked so much the part about health, and was happy to talk with other teachers who were not aware of the negative effects of sugar. It opened some good conversation when they asked her "Should I stop using it completely? maybe just one spoonful in my tea? What other alternatives are there?"
While I was speaking with Headmaster, I also gave him some of the magazines to give to teachers from other schools who have been friends with St. John's. I also asked him if a few copies could find their way to the District Education office, and he took them to the top education bosses there! He said he liked the ideas and encouraged teachers to respond accordingly. (I found him reading it in depth and I took a photo.)
So I would like to thank you all so much for your generosity, love, sacrifice and concern you really put in for us to be able to receive such good things. This not only enlightens us more but also empowers the children that we are striving to give the best we can.