Yes, Addie is only a year, but one of the things we wanted to do on this trip is think through where she would go to school. We have had the opportunity to look at a couple of options and talk through some of them with the missionaries here. We feel very comfortable here in Senegal knowing that Addie can get a good education. Now, Wayne and I have slightly different opinions on schooling because of our own backgrounds. I went to Christian schools in Elementary, homeschooled in Jr. High, and went to a very good private school in high school. I felt that I got a very good education. It's not that Wayne didn't go to good schools though, it's more that he slept through most of high school! So we have both added our experiences to our conversation about how to educate Addie and have seen both the good and bad in both of our experiences. So normally when parents are thinking about school, they are dealing with their backgrounds and the types of schools they have available etc... Of course it is compounded here. We are very fortunate to have some good options though, just not traditional options in the sense that most people would think!
One of our options Wayne mentioned in an earlier blog. John Huffman school is a Senegalese run Christian school in Thies. It is an elementary school, run on more of the French system (I don't understand all what that means) and is completely in French. We would love for Addie to be able to go to school here. She would be around a lot of Senegalese children (actually, she may be the only white girl there!) and would really learn French well. It would also be a great mission field, for Addie and for us. Even though it is a Christian school, 75% of the kids that go there are actually Muslim! The parents know it is a great school and are told up front that the Bible is taught there, but they want a good education for their kids and so send them there. It seemed to us from visiting that the kids are saturated with the Bible, which is such an exciting evangelistic opportunity! It is actually in the Senegalese constitution that there must be freedom to teach religion in all schools, so they take full advantage of this! We would like to further explore this option but feel that it might be good to try with Addie. We know that there will be challenges to her going to school here. She will learn to read and write French only, it is a French system which is more demanding and less creative...but we have been encouraged by one missionary who grew up going to French schools that we can look at it as an adventure to help her through!
Another very good option that we have is an MK school in Dakar. We visited Dakar Academy yesterday and were very impressed with it. It has about 250 students from K to 12th grade and the missionaries and MK's here are very happy with DA. They have a great library, nice facilities, and even dorms (we will think about that later!). The downside to this is that DA is in Dakar and we would like to live in Thies. We also realize that as Addie will probably go to college in the states (yes, I'm already thinking about college for my baby girl!) it would be really good to have her in the American school system to be able to function better in college in the states.
Well, this is just one of many decisions that we face in the coming years as we transition into a new life and ministry in Senegal. The trip though has given us a good picture of what is here and gotten us excited about living here and bringing Addie back with us next time we come!
We leave tonight for home, so our next update will be from our apartment in Iowa! We hear there is some snow on the ground now, so we are gearing up to have to wear warm clothes soon! Actually, we told my mom to bring some to the airport as we really didn't want to pack any for here.
Who Are We
We should be jealous. . . for the honour of His name – troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed. And all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honour and glory which are due to it.” John Stott