Saturday, September 18, 2004

And the rain came. Sometimes when it rains here it’s like a mother patting her child’s head, gentle and comforting. Today the rain is cool and hard. The wind makes the trees in our ‘garden’ dance. We wander through the house, taking note of where the water is coming through the roof.

Today is the first day of our three-day weekend. Monday is another election day, thus a holiday. We have many tasks before us to complete on this long weekend, but today we sit and watch the rain.

This has been a good week, for the most part. I could do with fewer meetings and more understanding among the people in the meetings. In the fourth (but not last) meeting of the week, there were five different nationalities represented. We were all using the same language, but everyone was using it differently. Communication is sometimes a lot of work.

I was sitting in my office one day wondering if I should tell my section coordinator that she has been spelling ‘basis’ wrong (bases). We have been talking about what we should use as our basis for grading for a long time. Every time she sends a memo about it or I see it in other paper work she has prepared, I think of baseball bases. Then I think about all of the students running around bases and the teachers giving them grades for it. While all of this was going through my mind, I hear a fellow teacher start to sing softly. She is often singing, but today her song caught my attention. “Give tanks with a grateful heart...give tanks to the Holy One...” Instantly my mind starts wondering why God would want tanks and where we would get them even if he did want them and how we would get them to God.

I spend quite a bit of time amusing myself with the petty mistakes of the ESL people around me. In all these long meeting we go to, I often find myself wondering exactly how we ‘asses’ the students using the ‘bases’ for grading presented.

Every other week there is a chapel service for the students and by the students. This past week the fourth grade class presented. They sang various songs about hands. One of these songs was “Where is Thumpkin?” They did not leave out the “Where is Tallman?” verse, much to the amusement of the fifth and sixth grade. The song left me quite puzzled. The last verse they sang was “Where is family?”, meaning the whole hand. Now, in every verse the first finger asks the second finger, “how are you today sir?”. What kind of family is this with only five males? I quickly realized that not only had the fourth grade flipped everyone off, they were also presenting homosexual themes. Maybe the school is less conservative than I thought.

“I don’t mind dying so much and doing it all over, I just hate letting Mario down,” said Matt as he plays a game boy and eats beef jerky. This past week we received four boxes. One was from Shane and Dianne and contained books (WOOHOO!), a much needed lint roller, and various interesting cds. The other three were from Matt’s family and contained various DVD’s, a game boy and games, snacks, and Dr. Pepper. Life has normalized. We came home from work yesterday and watched the Simpson sandwich, as it appeared daily on Fox (in Malvern), King of the Hill-Simpson’s-King of the Hill (then some Batman). Then it was time for reading.

Twice a week, I get to teach a class called “Religious and Moral Education.” I was given no materials to use and less than a week’s notice to prepare. That means that most days I just tell a Bible story and then tell the first and second grade students, who understand little of what I say, to love people or something. Yesterday, I told the story of the Good Samaritan to the second grade class. Their assignment was to make a list of three things they could do to help people. One little girl answered, “Tell story to people when the people don’t know the story about Jesus.” I’ll leave you with her bit of wisdom.

For those of you who are dear to our hearts (even more dear after we get mail from you) here is our address:
M. Lumpkin
Manado International School
Jl. Walanda Maramis
Kolongan 95371
Manado 95016
Sulawesi Utara

Phone: 62 431 812 512


Joy said...

Hey M's,

Today I spent hours with my bookcase, trying to get everything to fit, shluffing off the old, making room for what matters. I was going to send a goody-box soon anyhow, and when I discovered I had duplicates of several titles (!), I thought I'd let you see if any would interest you whiteys.

Catch-22 ~ Joseph Heller
Imperial Earth ~ Arthur C. Clarke (2001: Space Odyessy)
Gaudy Night ~ Dorothy Sayers (an Inkling)
Anthem ~ Ayn Rand
The Lost World ~ Arthur Conan Doyle
Middlemarch ~ George Eliot
The Portable Faulkner ~ I'm pretty sure that first Wink owned this, then Fogleman, who passed it to me in a futile attempt to get me to like Faulkner.

If any of these seem appealing, let me know - email (CheshireJM@yahoo or aol) or here. I'll include them in a box. With all the crunchy love of my trail mix heart ~ Chessie Joy

Joy said...


Faust ~ Geothe
The Catch-22 Casebook

M. Lumpkin said...

They all sound great, Chessie. Anything we don't fetch back to the states with us will contribute to the school's currently emaciated library, a cause for which I'm sure you can muster some empathy or at least some hearty chex mix.

A word to the wise: when and if you send it and if they require an estimate on the value, don't go over $10, even if it truly is worth more. The customs officials have a funny way of figuring out what your fee is based upon the $ value written on the side and color of your skin.

Joy said...

No prob, Bob.