August Dessert Night

As promised, we are holding another dessert night during our time in Canada where you can learn all about the work we are doing a Macha International Christian School. We hope you can join us! The details are below…

ZAMBIA DESSERT NIGHT

Date: Tuesday Aug 21st

Time: 7:30pm

Location: 1068 Harcroft Court, Oakville

Host: Derek Finch

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to joelpercy@gmail.com so we know you are coming. 

 

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Our home away from home away from home…

Tomorrow we get on a plane and make the 24 hour trek to spend the summer in Canada. It’s been a full month or so for us as we started term two,  completed teacher evaluations, a staff meeting, PTA meeting, board meeting, an inspection from the ministry of education and all the little details we have to take care of being we go. We are happy the to-do lists are finished and we can focus on what’s next.

Having lived here for over three years, this time our trip home comes with a few more mixed emotions, at least for me. And that’s because Zambia truly feels like home. It is home. I feel comfortable here and on most days, I really love our life.  Canada will also always be home because family is home. But Zambia is where we are doing life in this season. We are so excited to arrive in Canada on Thursday and spend some much-needed time with family and friends. We are looking forward to eating food we have missed, swimming in pools and lakes, experiencing overnight camp for the first time, riding roller coasters, sleeping in tents and mostly being with people we love. The last time we were all there, we had a baby who couldn’t walk and could barely talk, who now runs and tells elaborate stories. We have boys who have grown and matured and are somehow 8 even though they were only 4 when we arrived.

But despite all that I am looking forward to, I admit it feels a little different this time. A little more bittersweet as we leave one home for another. Having two homes I have learned to do my best to be fully present in each one but also acknowledge and accept when I miss the other one. And I am realizing I will miss my home. I will miss Macha and life at MICS. I will miss the slower pace of life while enjoying the benefits of city living.  I will miss the beauty of the African bush while enjoying the serenity of Muskoka. I will miss eating nshima while I eat steak and ice cream and strawberries and bagels (Okay, I won’t really miss nshima but I’ll miss the company of the boarding kids we share it with!). I will miss joking around with the students while I have fun with my nieces and nephews. I will miss dear friends here, while I catch up with others there. I will miss inviting friends over for last-minute games of Settlers, while I enjoy the plans I have made months in advance…and also hoping for many spontaneous last-minute get-togethers, if I’m honest!

I am leaving home for home. It is beautiful, and complicated and exciting and challenging. It is a privilege to have two homes and I’m grateful for both the anticipation of arriving and the sadness of leaving. We look forward to reconnecting with many of you very soon! xo

 

Zambia Dessert Night

In a few short weeks, our family will be climbing onto a plane in Livingstone and starting the long journey to Canada. We are excited to be coming home for the summer and looking forward to connecting with many of you.

As we have in the past, we will be holding a dessert night for people who want to hear updates on our work and ask any questions. We will also be sharing an opportunity to support the work of Macha International Christian School financially.

Below are the details on the dessert night. (Can’t make it to this one? Don’t worry…we are hoping to hold another event in the Oakville/Burlington region in mid-August. Stay tuned!)

ZAMBIA DESSERT NIGHT

Date: Wednesday Jun 27th

Time: 7:30pm

Location: 57 Bay Street, Mississauga (Port Credit)

Hosts: Bruce & Gael Miller

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to joelpercy@gmail.com by Tuesday Jun 19th so we know you are coming. 

We are looking for the next Director of MICS…

Early next year, Julianne and I will be wrapping up our term at MICS and heading back to Canada. At this point, we are still looking for someone to step in and fill our shoes in providing point leadership for the school when we leave.

Do you know someone who loves kids, has a background as a teacher or school administrator, and might be interested in coming to serve in Zambia for a few years? If so, we would love if you could pass this opportunity on to them.

Our hope would be to have someone start in January 2019 so we can have a bit of overlap and make the transition as smooth as possible.

For a full role description click here: MICS Director Role Description

And if you have any questions or know someone who might be a good fit for the role, you can contact joelpercy@gmail.com.

Thanks!

Back in Business

The government recently announced that the outbreak of cholera seems to be under control and that schools are free to open. This is the news we had been waiting to hear, and it came sooner than expected.

The announcement has meant a flurry of activity this week, including a busy week for our cleaning staff, a visit from the health inspector (we passed), and a busy day yesterday organizing new curriculum materials for the year.

But we are happy to say that we are ready to welcome our teachers back on Monday for a training day, then open our doors to begin classes on Tuesday.

Below, Julianne and the crew get things organized for the start of the year…


School Opening Delayed Due to Cholera

The new year is already off to an interesting start. A week from today we were supposed to welcome back our teachers for a few days of training and then our students were to arrive Thursday to begin the 2018 school year.  However, there’s been a change of plans. We found out a few days ago that the government is not allowing any schools to open as scheduled next week. There has been a cholera outbreak in the country, mostly in the capital region of Lusaka. In an effort to contain it we are to remain closed and they will re-evaluate the situation on January 30th. In Zambia many children travel throughout the country to attend boarding schools so they are hoping this decision will prevent cross-contamination. As far as we know, there are no cases in the Macha area or nearby.

MICS

Depending on where things stand in the country at the end of the month, we may or may not be opening. We hope it is soon as we are ready to get back into the routine of school. But more importantly we hope the situation gets under control for the health and safety of our staff and students as well as all citizens of Zambia. Please join us in praying for those who have been affected by cholera and that the outbreak would end soon. To learn more about the situation visit this article.

Highlights of 2017

2017 was a quieter year on our blog but as we welcome the new year, we just wanted to share a few highlights from term two and three.

The Jory Family
When we were home last Christmas, Nathan and Laura Jory, a couple from our church attended one of our dessert nights to learn more about MICS. I knew of them but didn’t really know them personally. That night led to Laura and I having coffee shortly after and just a few months later they brought their 4 children for a month-long visit in May and June. It was awesome to get to know them, share many meals together and introduce them to  life at MICS. Their children all attended school while Nathan and Laura helped in many parts of the school including teaching science, social studies and home economics. We always love sharing our life here especially with people back home, and we are grateful for a new friendship.

Our Trip to Zimbabwe
Over term break we took our second trip to Zimbabwe as a family. Last time I was pregnant so our friends had never met Nathaniel. Jake and Nancy Shenk graciously opened their home to us in Bulawayo. We attended the wedding of Thinkgrace Ndlovu, the daughter of Trezia and Danisa (the former BIC Bishop of Zimbabwe) and was great to be with their whole family again.  We went to Mtshabezi and stayed with Richard and Snoe and their family which always feels like home. A visit to Mtshabezi isn’t complete without seeing dear friends Mrs. Maphose and Rebecca as well. Mrs. Maphosa was a home-based care worker when we worked at the HIV/AIDS project, and who we consider our Zimbabwean grandmother and we got to know Rebecca through her. Rebecca wasn’t home as she had gone for a funeral but we drove around the bush with Richard and found her just before sunset. It was a sweet, surprise reunion!  We finished off our trip with a night at Shumba Shaba, one of our favourite places on earth, enjoying time as a family.

Reuniting with Siza
We met Siza at camp we helped run at Mtshabezi for kids who had lost one or both parents, back in December of 2006. Of the hundreds of kids she was someone I really connected with and saw great potential in. We have kept in touch over the years and she has become like a daughter to us. I finally got to see her again after more than 10 years. Some highlights of our time together included meeting her son (he calls me ‘Gogo’ which means Grandma), her getting to bond with all three of our boys and a shopping and lunch date for just the two of us. Reconnecting with her was a dream come true and definitely one of my top moments of the year.

Cape Town
In late September Joel and I were able to sneak away for 4 nights to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. (We’ve been married 12 years but we had a baby a few days after our 10th). This was our first extended time away together in many years and we enjoyed lots of good food, some winery tours, a visit to Robben Island and a trip up Table Mountain. Thanks to Amy who took such good care of our boys and dealt with a cobra in our house. Speaking of, we adopted a kitten named “Happy” a few days after we got home, who is helping to keep us snake-free…we hope!

 

Term Three
Term three was very full for us. I was in charge of our Christmas program so after picking some new songs for each class we starting rehearsing in early October and the kids worked really hard leading up to our two performances at the end of the term. Cynthia (our head teacher) and I did our second round of teacher evaluations which involved observing lessons and meeting with each teacher to talk about their strengths and areas for improvement. I also did end-of-year testing for our struggling students to see if they could move on to the next grade. This is probably my most stressful job as it feels like such a huge responsibility to make these decisions, but Cynthia and I worked well together. I’ve been trying to encourage more teacher-parent communication so these issues aren’t surprises. I finished off with final report cards and everything that wrapping up the year involves.

In his role as Director, Joel has been focused on creating a long term financial plan for the school, renewing staff contracts (the previous contracts expired in December), and partnering with the board of directors to increase teacher salaries. He has also been working closely with the Zambian Ministry of Education to finalize the process of formally registering the school with the Government. He also enjoyed teaching math to our Grade 7s and helping them prepare for the national Grade 7 exam.

 

Joel and the boys enjoyed a few weeks of downtime here while I was in Canada. I was able to easily get all my supply teaching days in, have an early Christmas with my side of the family, dinner with Joel’s family and catch up with some good friends. I was back just in time to have a quiet Christmas with my boys and recover from jet lag. We are looking forward to our new school year starting in a few weeks.

Thank you for all of you who continue to support us in our work here, especially as we’ve extended our time for an additional year. We wouldn’t be here without your generosity. We look forward to what 2018 will bring. We wish you a wonderful new year full of hope, joy, peace and love!

P.S. Don’t forget MICS has a Facebook page! Follow along with what’s happening around the school. We recently posted a series of videos from our Christmas program. Check them out!

 

 

 

The Year is Done and a Quick Trip for One

Today marks the end of our 2017 school year.  This last term has been very full and we have had a lot going on right up until the last day. We are thankful to be at the finish line with a longer break ahead of us. We look forward to sharing more about our year soon, but for now we will rest. Well, sort of…

Tomorrow I’ll be getting on a plane for a three week trip to Canada. With a well-timed surprise baby I was able to get a maternity leave from my occasional teaching position with my school board. I was given an addition leave in our second year but now I need to come home and do my required teaching days to stay employed. We decided this would be a good idea so one of us has a job when we move back, and we’re thankful this will only have to happen once in our whole time in Zambia.

Unfortunately I’ll be leaving all of my boys behind. I am dreading the goodbyes and the time apart but am also looking forward to saying hello to friends and family who I haven’t seen in almost a year. Having two homes is an amazing privilege and it is bittersweet, always excited to go to one and sad to leave the other. So if you happen to see a girl dreamily walking the aisles of a grocery store, likely with a disproportionate amount of treats in her cart, that could very well be me. See you soon Canada!

 

Grade 7 Exams This Week

We are into our final month of our 2017 school year. We are a bit behind on updates and have yet to let you know what we were up to in term two. But in the mean time, we’d like to ask for prayers for our grade seven students this coming week. From Monday to Friday they will be writing their national exams. Passing these exams is critical if they want to continue on to secondary education. These kids have worked incredibly hard this year, writing mock exams and putting many extra hours of studying in. Their teacher, Mrs. Muzyamba, who is teaching grade seven for the first time, has also done a fantastic job.

Grade 7-1

If you are the praying type, please ask God for wisdom, confidence and good health this week. At least one of them has been sick today. These kids are ready but I know they are pretty nervous. Joel teaches them math and has been going over some test taking skills to help ease their fears. This our biggest graduating class at MICS and no matter what the outcome is we are so proud of these kids and all of the staff who have invested in them over the years to get them to this point. This is a very significant week in their lives. Thanks for praying!

MICS is looking for interns in 2018

Do you know a young adult who might be interested in coming to work as an intern here in Zambia at MICS? We are currently accepting applications for 2018 internships.  No experience is needed…just a love of children and a willingness to be flexible. Interns live here on the school campus, have opportunities to support in classrooms during the day, and spend time building relationships with boarding students in the afternoons and evenings.

We have spots available for all three terms next year:

Term 1 (January – March)

Term 2 (May – July)

Term 3 (September – November)

Deadline for applications is September 15th. For details please contact sarahjantzi@gmail.com.