Every day begins with Mass at 7:00 a.m. in the parish church. Monday through Friday, all the students and teachers from the school are joined by about 20 parishioners for Mass. On Thursdays the Mass is in English, the language that the children are taught in school. There is always a flurry of activity in the sacristy before Mass with all the altar boys getting dressed and helping to prepare.
The altar boys have a prayer before Mass and a prayer after Mass. The prayers are long, but they have them memorized and they pray very loudly and very quickly. Usually, I am trying to keep up and I find myself halfway through the prayer when I hear everyone else say, “Amina” (“Amen”).
When Mass is finished, there is a flurry of activity to hang up everything and get to school. One of the joys for me is to see how enthusiastic and devoted they are. They also, clearly, are friends. You can tell how much they love Br. Michael and Fr. Yohana.
I asked them to help me with my Swahili and to tell me if there is a particular word that I have mispronounced. One day, I asked one server if he noticed any word or words that I could pronounce better. He nodded his head “yes.” I asked him which words. He said, with the straightest face, “Almost all of them.”
One boy, in particular, is very helpful. Just before Mass I will ask him about a word or two that I am having difficulty with. His pronunciation is very good and after I repeat it, he will give me a big smile if I have done it correctly! If I muck it up at Mass, he will come over and say the word again. Hey, it works!
After Mass, the students assemble before school begins for the national anthem and announcements.
We have entered the rainy season. It can be very sunny in the morning, without a cloud in the sky. But then, in the afternoon, clouds will start to build, and it usually begins to rain around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. When it rains, it rains! You can hardly imagine that so much rain can fall at one time.
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