We had an incredible and challenging opportunity this last week to teach over 120 kids in the village of Kanjonde. We really had little idea of what to expect and had prepared for about 50 kids, so it required some flexibility! But I have never seen so many smiles as we read “From Head to Toe,” such an enthusiastic hunger for education from an entire community.
The village of Kanjonde lies in the foothills of Mt. Moco, Angola’s highest peak. We have often visited for recreation and to help with a reforestation project there. While building relationships with some of the villagers, we heard the huge felt need for education for their children – the closest school is a three hour walk away. So Danny discussed with the soba (village leader) the idea of coming once a month to teach the kids and study the Bible with the adults. He agreed enthusiastically and asked, “When can you start?”
Jordan kept our kiddos and we drove out to Mt. Moco (about 2 hours away) armed with a homemade alphabet chart and 50 notebooks and pencils. The soba had already arranged everything. We watched amazed as what seemed to be every kid in the village arrived – from ages 2 to 20, armed with a plastic chair or stool, notebook or a few sheets of paper, and the stub of pencil. The building was jam packed and the children waiting expectantly. For about 100 of them, this was their very first day of school.
Danny and our helper took out groups of kids to register and spent over three hours writing names and doing a simple academic assessment. Meanwhile, the kids and I sang, studied the alphabet, practiced writing, counted, and read stories. I made my way up and down the small aisle to try to give at least a little attention to each kid. I thoroughly enjoyed being in a classroom again, though it was certainly a big challenge – navigating differing educational expectations, and with so many kids at different levels.
In the afternoon, Danny taught on the Samaritan woman for about 50 adults, with good participation from all.
We will go again in two weeks. I hope to be able to teach the kids in three different groups next time. Danny will continue Bible studies in the afternoons.
To close, I will share with you the one name, the one face, I was able to take away from that grand gathering of kids – Emília Cassova. She is 16 years old, and could not recognize a single letter. But at the end of the day, she proudly showed me her notebook page, half full of perfectly formed little circles. She stayed and helped me clean up the room, and she is waiting for the next time I come, waiting for the day she can read.
- Pray for the children of Kanjonde, that their enthusiasm will continue.
- Pray for the logistics of going out there every few weeks. Pray that I will be to discern the best way to teach this diverse group of learners.
- Pray that their hunger for God and His word grows. Pray for Danny as he seeks to open Scripture to them in accessible ways.