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…
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 email@example.com.
Celebrating Canada Day in Macha
It is hard to believe that it was a little over three years ago that we began to share publicly about our plans to move to Zambia. At dessert nights, over coffee, or between Sunday services at church we began to share with people about a little school in rural Zambia and the adventure our family was about to undertake there.
Now, three years later, that little school has become home. Our kids have gotten bigger (and a lot better at soccer). We have added a new member to our family who is, unbelievably, almost two years old. We have taken on new roles at the school. And just as we were three years ago when all this got rolling, we are so thankful for the amazing support we have received from family and friends.
Many of you know that our original plan was to serve here in Zambia for three years. Now, after much thought and discussion and prayer, we have decided to stay a little longer. We will be extending our term by a little more than a year, staying throughout 2018 and moving back to Canada in early 2019.
Although it is hard to be away from family and friends in Canada, we are excited to be able to carry on the work we are doing here and continue to serve with the fantastic team at MICS.
Of course, our extended timeline means we will need continued financial support from those who have given so generously to allow us to serve here. For those who currently support us financially, we will be in touch soon to share with you how you can continue giving or, if needed, make a change to your support. If you are not currently supporting us but would like to make a contribution, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can give you all the information you need.
Thanks again to all of you for your continued prayers and support!
We are excited to be back on Canadian soil soon and to have the chance to see so many of you who have been supporting us and cheering us on while we are here in Zambia.
In order to connect with as many of you as possible, we will be holding a series of dessert nights in November. These events will give you a chance to learn more about our work at the school and to hear some stories about life in Zambia. Of course, we would also love to answer any questions you may have.
Below are details on the three events. We hope you can join us for one of these evenings. If you are interested in attending, please email email@example.com for more details. We hope to see you there!
MISSISSAUGA — Thursday Nov 24th
Where: Port Credit
BURLINGTON — Tuesday Nov 29th
Where: Near Appleby & New Street
OAKVILLE — Wednesday Nov 30th
Where: Near 8th Line & Upper Middle
It has now been two weeks since I took on the role of School Director here at MICS. It has been a wonderful two weeks of meeting with staff, hearing their ideas for taking the school to the next level, and trying to get my head around all that needs to happen in the three short weeks before we return to Canada. I continue to be so impressed with the team here at MICS. They are smart, passionate and dedicated…it is going to be a joy to work with them.
Now, on to one of my first and most important tasks in my new role: recruiting my successor. Our commitment to the school is to be here till the end of 2017. After that, we will need someone to step in and take over.
MICS is looking for someone to fill the role of School Director at the end of 2017. We are looking for someone who cares deeply about children, is passionate about offering a quality education, and is committed to teaching them about God’s love. Do you know someone who might be a fit for this role? The ideal candidate will have some experience in primary education, either as a teacher or an administrator, and be flexible and humble enough to adapt to working in a new culture. A full role description is available here: Role Description – MICS School Director.
The role would formally begin in January 2018. Ideally the candidate could arrive in Zambia in September 2017 to allow some time for training and a smooth transition.
If you know someone who might be a fit, please share this with them. If you are interested in learning more about the role yourself, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!
There are big changes happening at MICS. Earlier this week we announced to staff, students and parents that MICS Directors Gil and Ronda Krause will be retiring. It is hard to overstate the contribution the Krauses have made to the school. Ten years ago they started the school with a small group of Grade 1 students. Today, MICS has nearly 200 students, a full boarding program, and has consistently delivered top-notch results on national exams. But it goes beyond that. During their time here in Macha they have touched many lives. You could see it on the teachers’ faces when they heard the announcement. Many of them have been at MICS for years and were no doubt remembering how the Krauses have supported them and invested in them over the years. They are not just losing their school Directors. They are losing two friends.
This transition brings changes for us too. With the departure of the Krauses, Julianne and I have been asked to step in and fill the gap. As of next week, I will be taking on the role of School Director. Julianne will also be taking on an expanded role, working closely with our Head Teacher, Cynthia Mweene, in providing mentoring and leadership for the teaching staff. We will serve in these new roles until our three year commitment ends in December 2017. We are both excited to continue working with the great team at MICS to give kids in the Macha area the outstanding education they deserve.
MICS Directors Gil & Ronda Krause
This year MICS is celebrating its 10th anniversary. From humble beginnings with a single Grade One class that used to meet under a tree, to a thriving school of over 180 students, it has been quite a ride. To celebrate how far the school has come, we recently held a 10th Anniversary celebration for students, parents, and members of the community. With games, music, an open house for parents, and of course food, it was a truly wonderful day. Here are some photos from the day…
Pushing for the finish line in the potato sack race.
Laying it all on the line in the tug of war.
Getting the goalkeeper ready for the soccer challenge.
Taking aim at the “catapult” station.
Parents watch a presentation showcasing ten years of memories at MICS.
School Director and founder, Ronda Krause, shares about God’s faithfulness over the years.
Parents discuss student progress with Ms. Mweene at the Open House.
If it is rainy season, and the road just outside your house has turned into a muddy, soupy mess, and drivers are routinely getting stuck there and then coming by to ask for help, and Jamie who usually tows them out with the 4×4 is in Lusaka and has the vehicle with him, and you go out one night to try to help someone who is stuck, don’t stand within the line of sight of the front tires.
I get to wear a lot of hats at MICS. In Canada, I am used to a world of specialization. But here, you get to do everything — whether you are qualified for it or not. One hat that I have been wearing a lot lately is my HR Manager hat. This is one of the areas I was asked to help with when we arrived, so I have been diving in and trying to make sure MICS is a great place to work for our teachers and support staff.
Sometimes this is tedious work — writing employment contracts that comply with Zambian labour law is nobody’s idea of a good time. Sometimes it is difficult and even heartbreaking, as it was in December when we had to notify some staff their contracts would not be renewed. But other times, I admit, it is just plain fun.
One of the fun times came last Friday. We have been looking for ways to boost morale and to engage the teachers in striving to improve in their roles. We also wanted to take some steps towards narrowing the pay gap between our teachers and the government teachers. (MICS is a private school, and currently it is not possible for us to match the government salaries.) So at the start of this year we launched a good, old-fashioned “Employee of the Month” program. Every month, we select someone who has gone above and beyond in their role. They get a fancy laminated certificate, a cash prize, and some well-deserved recognition in front of their peers. (We are also working on some other perks, including a premium reserved bicycle parking spot.)
I have definitely been in some contexts in Canada where such a program might be met with eye-rolling and crossed arms. But here, the response so far has been more like wild enthusiasm. On Friday after school we gathered the staff to give out the award for January. The winner was Ms. Stembile Uli, who was recognized for creating top-notch lesson plans that are creative, thorough, and engaging for the kids. I expected her to be happy. What I did not expect was the reaction from the other staff. When her name was announced, they let out a great cheer. After the meeting she was mobbed, with every single staff member lining up to give her a big hug. Watching the scene, you could be forgiven for thinking this was the receiving line at her wedding. Or maybe that she had just won the Super Bowl.
So our new program is off to a great start, and no doubt people are already waiting to see who the deserving winner will be in February. In the meantime, I have a hunch people are paying a little extra attention to their lesson plans.
Congratulations Ms. Uli on the big win…you deserve it!
Caleb and Micah are loving being big brothers. Here are a few shots of them hanging out with the newest Percy boy…