Today was visitation day here at Upendo Christian School where I work and live. At Upendo, we have some kids who just come to school during the day and then go home to their parents, and we also have some children who stay in our boarding section and are with us 24/7 for the months they are in school. Many of these children are orphans. They have extended family members who help take care of them during the school breaks, but most of them live far away and don’t have much money. One day per term (there are 3 total per year) the school has a visitation day. This is a day where parents can come and visit the school and check to see how their child is doing in class. For those who have no family, or their family lives very far away, they don’t get any visitors.
So today, I played the role of visitor for 6 girls.
I first visited Racheal. Her family lives about 75 miles east of here, so I knew they weren’t likely to come. She knew it too and her face said it all. I asked her if it was ok for me to be her visitor today. Suddenly her face lit up. We walked from the girls’ dorm toward the classroom. I started talking to her as if I were a family member she hadn’t seen in a long time. She laughed but played along, telling me that things were going well and she is happy to have a new teacher to help with Math (that’s me by the way). We arrived in her classroom to speak to the teacher. Racheal is doing well. She is #3 in her class, though she wants to be #1. She struggles in math so we said that anytime she needs help she can ask me because I help tutor the kids on Tuesday and Friday evenings. After our conference was over, she talked to me about competing in class for the #1 position and how she feels discouraged when she doesn’t get good grades to get her to the top. This opened the door for me to talk to her about my own experiences and also to share that in life, we won’t always be perfect at everything. An example being that I make a good teacher, but if you asked me to fix a car engine I would fail every time. But that it doesn’t make me a failure in life. It just means I wouldn’t make a good mechanic. I told her not to become discouraged but to just keep doing her best, because God knows the effort we’re putting in.
I visited a few other girls. Many of them are struggling in their school work. In fact, one is failing terribly. She so badly wants to do well, but she just can’t seem to get there. As I spoke to her teacher I could see how terrible this girl felt about her grades. After our conference I also tried to encourage her. I told her that I would pray about how we can help her to improve. (And I ask that you’d pray as well, that God would help me to know how to help her so that she can succeed). I also told her that no matter what happened that God still had a good plan for her life and that He would use her in big ways whether she is good at spelling and math or not.
As visitation day came to a close, a handful of girls that didn’t have visitors had a reason to smile, and in my book that is a day well spent.