Monday, March 12, 2012

Discovering our Gifts

Every week I try to think of a topic/issue to discuss with the girls to get them to think. This has not been easy. They don't open up that easily and they aren't the most critical thinkers I have ever met. In my opinion, it's a reflection of their school systems where they are taught to cram/memorize information instead of analyze, critical think, learn to learn for themselves. My dad is a teacher and he has told me so many times that most teachers' goals are not to teach their students information, but to teach them to retain knowledge out in the real world. This is not true in Kenya. 

Last week we chatted about gossip and we had some heated debates. This community and particular people group are known for gossiping. Seriously. I will walk through the streets and will listen to Mama's sit and talk about me and my life as I walk by them. It's terrible. So it was a good topic to talk about. 

This week I wanted us to talk about our gifts that God has given us. It is only in the past few years that I have really understood what gifts God has given me. I have discovered what I am good at, what I thrive at, what I love doing, and how I am suppose to use these gifts for God. SO I wanted the girls to really think about what they are good at, what makes them thrive, what is something that comes naturally to them. I find in Kenya that people assume that your gifts are either a) Dancing b)singing c) reading poetry d) football. It's like those are the only gifts you can have. That's why you find so many terrible singers here thinking that singing is their gift when really they don't understand that they are amazing at administration or something else. 

Anyways, I wanted the girls to think outside the box. Eventually they did. It was a bit painful at first. The normal answers came up first (dancing, singing, football) but then I challenged them to think of other things. Gifts of mercy, humour, patience, organization, public speaking, love, giving, etc. 

Then we made name tags to put on our bulletin board. I made them put their name on it and then write one of their gifts underneath. 

 Our favourite game to play is musical cushions (musical chairs but with cushions.) It makes us all bend over in laughter. Cushions make for a harder fall and less precision. I know this picture is blurry but I just love the joy in their faces. 

 Now on to craft time!

There is limited craft supplies in Mombasa so I resorted to different coloured paper, newspapers, and pencil crayons. I also have a budget of about $15 per week with the girls so I try to be resourceful.

 This girl has to be one of my favs. Her laughter and joy is contagious. She is a riot. Her name is pronounced 'myu-nee-rra'. 

 This is mine. Don't laugh. I didn't my best with what I had. I had made one the night before and Kelvin told me it looked like a child did it. So I redid it and this is what I got.

Tina is one of Kelvin's sisters who comes to hang out with us. 

So here are a few things I discovered/noticed during this exercise:

1. My girls have cool names. Tumu, Saum, Miraj, Khadija, Joydeen, Munira, Fatma, etc. Most are islamic names but so beautiful. 

2. "Plainting" is a word. I saw several girls put it on their papers and just couldn't figure out what it was. I wondered if that had misspelled 'planting' or 'painting'. But then I figured out that they meant 'plaiting' which is braiding cornrows. 

3. Kenya schools do not teach art nor do they encourage artistic skills. Honestly, most of the girls made banners that looked like what my 8 year old kids in summer camps would make. 

4. They would rather cut paper with razor blades instead of scissors. 

5. One of my girls has a gift of forgiveness. I thought that was awesome. It wasn't even a gift that had come up in conversation. She thought of it herself. I wish forgiving was easier for me. 

6. This group is bringing together girls who wouldn't interact otherwise. Most of them live near each other but don't interact much. I was delighted to hear two girls, who never chatted outside the group, talking about their deep family issues and encouraging one another. 

I am beginning to fall in love with these ladies. Truly. I love my saturday afternoons with them. I am constantly looking for new ideas, games, discussion topics, etc. If you have any ideas on how to get them to think or team building exercises, please pass them this way! I am open to ideas! 

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