Birthdays in Namibia: “I Love You All”
On Monday, June 1 we started out our day at a Monday meeting. At NISE, or the National Institute for Special Education, each student grabbed their chair from a classroom and had an all-school assembly. Here the principal Mrs. Marillize Fransman spoke of general announcements, updates, introduced each member of the team, especially Prof. Patty Caro who has been traveling to Namibia for the past few years and is the reason students from UW-Stevens Point have such a wonderful opportunity to study abroad!
To open the meeting, the entire school sang a few songs which were beautiful and gave me the goose bumps! Next Ms. Anna Theron shared a few passages from the Bible and motivated the students to do their best each and every day. Two special guests at the Monday Morning Meeting were commissioners from the prison, as this group of wonderful individuals work with people in prisons and chose to volunteer at NISE by planting a garden on their “Day of Goodwill,” and went above and beyond to supply each student with a new jersey to wear to school. A jersey is the required shirt each student wears to school every day.
Once the commissioner gave a few words of wisdom, the choir sang, and thanks were given for the jerseys, Alexis DeJardin (an elementary and special education major that happens to be my birthday twin) and I were called to the front. All of a sudden the entire school sang happy birthday to the two of us where we tried not to cry as we were so happy to be surrounded by such wonderful students, staff and friends. The icing on the cake was when Mrs. Fransman lit two candles and had each of us blow them out. From the birthday cards, hugs and love received from the students we could not stop smiling all day!
Most of the students at the school live at the hostile, and one young lady wrote me a letter in braille. I have never been more excited to receive a letter in a language I am not familiar in, but one of my friends at the school read it aloud for me. I had only known this young lady for a few days but the words on that page will stick with me for a lifetime. Later on a student asked me to close my eyes and she presented be with a lovely bracelet. All night I could not overcome the idea that this wonderful learner does not have much, but found a way to get me a birthday present. I now wear that bracelet each day and still cannot believe the amount of love these students have to offer.
After the wonderful day at school, the team headed back to Arebbusch, the travel lodge we have been calling home, cooked dinner and had birthday cake! Alexis and I felt like princesses for the day and thank everyone for making our day so special!
Later met jou te praat,
Katie Morici, an elementary education and special education major, is blogging about her study abroad experience in Namibia, Africa.