by Jess Cropsey
I have been amazed to see on Facebook so many kids already going back to school! As a teacher, I cringe at the thought of going back to school in early August, but I’m sure there are many happy parents. :)
Here at Kibuye, we have a particularly long summer. We wrapped up in mid-May to send off our beloved teacher and get ready for a Serge Conference in Spain. Despite our early finish, Kibuye Hope Academy’s 4th (can you believe it?!) school year won’t start until late September while we await the arrival of 3 new families (Banks, Baskins, Nimmons) and a new intern.
One of my projects for the summer has been getting our new school ready to go. This beautiful building was completed in late April and we finished off our final two weeks of last school year there, but it was a little chaotic. We added quite a few new items with the arrival of the last container, so that all needed to be sorted. I am pleased to write that it is pretty much ready to go!
When our family was back in the USA for a few months last summer, we discovered that the school where John & I graduated from high school would be closing its doors after four decades. Calvary Christian Academy was the place where our romance began many years ago and just for kicks I'll include a graduation photo.
I was thrilled when they graciously offered for us to take anything we could use in Burundi before their sale opened to the general public. We are really grateful for the beautiful desks, chairs, filing cabinets, tables, books, school supplies, and various other items that they donated to our little school. They also sold us 3 really nice student desktops for a great price so that we can have one computer in each room. Go Cougars! We also gave some of their old jerseys to the local soccer team, so we often get to see a Burundian CCA Cougar running around Kibuye.
I would also like to give a huge thanks to Caleb Fader & Tony Sykes (with EMI) for helping supervise this project and the many Burundian construction workers who did such a nice job. And a shout-out to David, the architect with EMI, who gave some suggestions to improve our layout and make it a really wonderful space.
The school building is set right in the middle of the large space where the majority of our residential homes are, so it’s a quick commute for everyone! The Watts’ kids have already timed it — less than 10 seconds from their front door to the school (at a run, of course).
Carlan designed our awesome school logo and he & Michelle painted a beautiful sign for our school when they were here for a brief visit in June, with space left on the book to later fill in with a school verse chosen by the kids themselves. (Can you see the shape of Africa in the green part of the tree?)
There is a wide hallway at the main entrance with little cubbies and coat hooks for each student (18 “enrolled” for next school year). The belfry (which does not in fact house a bell) lets in a lot of natural light. There has been some discussion about adding a rock climbing wall here, but I think the kids may meet some resistance to that idea. Off the hallway, we have three classrooms, a bathroom, and a small storage room.
This is the largest of the rooms and will be the main classroom for our 5 kindergarteners as well as larger combined classes like music, art, Kirundi, etc. We included a sink here for science & art classes.
In this same large room, we have an awesome reading loft in one corner, built by the multi-talented Dr. Jason Fader. The kids LOVE this space! We also have some bookshelves that function as the team library, with both adult & kids’ books available to be “checked out”.
This classroom will be for our 6 second graders.
The third classroom will be a combined classroom for six 4th-7th graders, who are together for all their classes except math.
Because I like to organize things, I had to include this photo of our storage closet. I know some of you will understand how beautiful this is. A big thanks to teammate Nicole, a kindred spirit when it comes to organizing. And I would be remiss to not also thank my husband for indulging my endless requests to build shelves (shown here) and hang chalkboards, bulletin boards, curtain rods, etc.
We have a great schedule set up for our TCKs (third-culture kids) and are incredibly thankful that God provided Scott & Lindsay Nimmon to join our team to help lead the education of our kids. Many of the moms are also heavily involved in the teaching schedule, so you can pray that we would work well together. Scott & Lindsay are currently at a cross-cultural training course and have purchased tickets to arrive in Burundi on September 11th. They still need an estimated $1800/month in financial support to serve here at Kibuye. Please pray that God would supply the remainder of their support and if you would like to help, please click here.
I'm super excited for a new school year to start!
Go _______! (school mascot yet to be determined...)