Tag Archives: school

Rain! Rain! Life-giving and Scary Feb. 21 Tues.

Welcome to AISJ

Here in Johannesburg we have had two days of heavy rain. Tonight Dave’s swimming pool is filled to the brim. In this country, whether you own a shack or a castle you have no basement. Consequently, heavy rain cannot flood your basement but it can run in over your doorsill. Middleclass shacks have cement floors which provide some protection, not much. Because of the constant drought, and the clay soil, rain tends to run away and erode rather than soak into the thirsty earth. Consequently, flash floods are always a hazard. This much needed rain is both a blessing and a curse.

Today we stayed home til school was over. I wrote my blog and read. The slow day was lovely and needed. After school Jonathon, a hired driver, drove us to the school. Because this is a gated community we walked out to the front gate to meet him. While we waited we talked to the gatekeeper, an ex-policeman from Zimbabwe. His racing speech and south African accent defeated my ears. I caught a word here and there, enough to understand that he was here and his family back in Zimbabwe because of education. Jonathon arrived in a BMW and wearing a suit. Obviously being a driver for the rich is a grand occupation. He is obviously educated. He spoke well and slowly and that was helpful.

The pictures I have for you are of the American International School, AISJ, where David & Joanne work, and Jenna is a student. Dave gave us a wonderful tour in the rain. For me, AISJ feels like a palatial campus. White stucco buildings, with outside halls, (cloister walks I call them), spread lazily across the landscape in a mazelike pattern, making multiple courtyards for students to soak in the sun as they enjoy one another. With the welcoming climate here, the great outdoors is an integral part of the classroom space. Luscious gardens add beauty and peace. Inside there are also comfortable seating areas sprinkled throughout the buildings, gathering places for rainy days. The full theatre, two gymnasiums, swimming pool, fitness room, triple soccer field, and playground are fabulous resources for learning and activity.

As we followed David from building to building, I wondered what the public schools here were like. Next time we come to South Africa, we’ll have to arrange a tour of the school that the children from the townships attend. It would be good to talk with their teachers as well.

My mind was drawn back to home. We too have private luxury schools. We pride ourselves on equal education for all in Canada, so we too have public schools which are free for all children. Luxury private schools are available as well. I’ve taught in our public schools and know that, although not the total luxury of AISJ and private schools, they are still  way more than just adequate. I have not had a tour of the schools on our northern native reservations. I have only heard about the lack of resources in those schools. Stories of the frustration and courage of teachers who seek jobs in those northern schools, speak to me of deficit rather than equality. We too have a lot to learn.

Yesterday my heart was touched by the gift of conversation with our gate security man, and our driver. I felt joy knowing that our Jenna is attending a fabulous school like AISJ. She has so many extra opportunities for learning because of her parents work.

As I experienced once again the enormous gap between the rich and the poor here, in South Africa, my eyes were opened wider to the gap in Canada. That too is a source of joy, because I need my eyes open. Jesus said, “those who have eyes to see… and ears to hear…” need to use them. Nothing will ever change unless all of us open our hearts to see and hear the reality of our world.

AISJ Middle School – Cloister walk along classrooms on both sides of this courtyard
AISJ High School Gardens
AISJ – new gymnasium
AISJ Fitness Room
AISJ – Quadrangle of the Arts
AISJ – View out over the cafeteria from the Theatre
AISJ – Old Gymnasium
AISJ – Swimming Pool
AISJ – Open Air Cafeteria
AISJ – Approaching the Theatre
Here Come the Giraffes enjoying the rain at the American International School of Johannesburg (AISJ).
AISJ – Three fields for soccer, field hockey etc.
AISJ – Elementary School Playground

 

Prayer Projects for This School Year.

Prayer Projects for This School Year

by Janet Stobie

Don't Forget to Pray
Don’t Forget to Pray

I received an email from my friends. Attached to it were pictures of proud great grand-parents holding baby Rina, healthy and strong. Three days later, our family surrounded grandson, Ben, with love as we said goodbye. His dad drove him to Thunder Bay to begin university, a huge step in growing up.

This week children across our nation have returned to school. Most are sent with love and hugs. Some go to new friends and strange schools; some return to old friends and a familiar place. All of them need support. Sometimes, support entails saying, “No.” Sometimes, support means applause.  Our goal is to love them well. That’s not always easy.

Parents have a huge job today. Torn by competing loyalties to work and family, they strive to do all that is required for their school age child. Homework, projects, free time, meals, clean clothes, guidance, and taxi service all require a parent’s time, energy and commitment. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, relative, or neighbor, you have a role to play.

This fall, I suggest you choose several families, some who are relatives and some who are strangers. Make these families your prayer projects. Each day, name them. Hold them in your love. Give God thanks for them. Open your hearts and minds to anything these families might need. Be God’s Good News for them.

St. Paul says: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment… “ (Philippians 1:9)