Monday, November 18, 2013


New Name...  Anna Linhart to Anna Dickenson!

New Country, New husband... Josh and I will be in the US for a year.

Josh and I plan to return to serve in Bundibugyo, Uganda in the summer of 2014.  

We have merged our blogs into one NEW BLOG, so I will no longer be posting on CROSSWARD.

Check out our NEW BLOG:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Review in pictures of term 2 at RVA

Dr. Seuss Day! Celebrated on Dr. Seuss' birthday.  Which means we all get to wear pajamas to class learn fun facts about this amazing children's book author and listen to stories!

My little whos

all the elementary school listening to stories

Micah showing off some awesome slippers

On March 14 my 6th graders celebrated Pi day!  We measured all kinds of circular treats to find pi for each one.  Then we ate... and ate.... and ate.  I am pretty sure no one ate lunch that day.

Raspberry, chocolate pie... the prize for the 4 students who memorized the most digits of pi

At my house receiving their reward... the winner at 154 digits!

Making a color coded paper chair for the digits of pi.
 Jr. High Drama.
Enjoying middle eastern tales of virtue and humor.  They did an awesome joy!

My 35 6th graders.  I love them!
 Term 2 Birthday sleepover.

Sarah likes eating icing more than putting it on cupcakes
 Narnia Party
Feasting at our Narnia party after finishing the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

There's no wrong way to eat pigs in a blanket
 Talent show. 
And our 6th graders sure do have talent!

Korean pop song
 I was so proud of my students as they performed at their concert.  They have made so much improvement since that first day when they were given all their instruments and sat on the hill behind my house and squawked away.

Hike to the big fig tree. 
A little ways down the mountain from Kijabe there is this giant fig tree with roots that extend for meters and meters over the rocks and descend down the cliff.  Yes, we too our students to the edge of a cliff.  No one was lost, and despite the complaints on the way back (it was all up hill)  fun was had by all as we enjoyed the beauty of the Great Rift Valley.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A great group of youth

I am back in Bundibugyo for the holidays and so enjoying reconnecting with friends and teammates.  Yesterday I went to a party that was organized by the  youth of Bundimalinga Presbyterian church.  The party was to recognize the work of the youth this year and to celebrate the birth of Christ.  The event was set to begin at 10 am, which really means 11.  We arrived around 11, but the rain earlier in the day pushed for even more of a delay.  This was OK because it gave me a chance to check out the cooking that had going on (they probably started around 9am for a meal that would be ready at 4:30... we had some wonderfully dedicated cooks.

Now that's a pot of meat!

Irish potatoes...  some g-nut(my favorite) pounding in the background
The delay also gave me time to capture some of the Decorations.  I was pretty amazed that whole banana trees were cut down for decorations.  But I guess we cut down whole trees to decorate for Christmas too.

Josh delivering a Christmas message, encouragement and challenge to the youth to bless their community!- the first of many speeches of the day.
Soon the festivities began, with a gospel message from Josh and the singing of the national anthem.  Juliet was the Emcee and kept the event going.  Introducing each speaker and the groups who did miming of music, which is just lip-sinking.  Though the dancing that accompanied it definitely gave it a little something extra.  There were many speeches of the chairman of the youth group, a local government official, and from the guest of honor.  In between the speeches we were wowed by the new sound system.   By about 4 most of the program was completed and Juliet invited volunteers to come up to sing.  Then she announced that the missionaries would do something to entertain everyone that was not lip-sinking, but then added that we could do music if we had nothing else to do.  Ann quickly thought a few camp skits that she thought would translate between culture and we picked one and recruited a few helpers.  It was a bit hit, definitely providing a lot "entertainment"  though this was not a tough crowd to please.
What's a Christmas party with out a little miming.  AKA lip sinking to some popular American tunes. 

"Mr. and Mrs. Party" cut the cake next to guest of honor, Bible translator and pastor Charles Musingusi
After we enjoyed a feast of rice, matooke (like mashed potatoes, but mashed bananas), potatoes, noodles with various meat sauces and beans, the dance began.  It was opened by Mr. and Miss. Party (a bit like a prom king and queen I guess).  Then everyone rushed onto the floor to join in the fun from sweet white haired, toothless Aliganyira to the little tots with no shoes or shirts.  Definitely a day of celebration that I was glad to be a part of.
Jess making Aliganyira's day with a dance... not to mention everyone else's.  Everyone was cheering and clapping!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A busy weekend... week... term!

It is hard to believe that the first term at RVA has come to completion.  There are so many things to share so many wonderful memories.  Here is a little bit of the last weekend at RVA.

I had been telling my 6th grade girls that I wanted to do something special for their birthdays.  I decided on a term sleepover in which every girl who had their Birthday that term could come to my house for a sleepover celebration.  This term there were 5 girls.  A wonderful little group of girls from Northern Ireland, US, Kenya and Korea!  I hung streamers and balloons and made cupcakes... the first batch decided not to rise.  (Still working out the kinks of baking at high altitude with a finicky oven.)  The girls came over after the school movie night.  I whipped up some yummy buttercream frosting... which I have to say is better than even Betty Crocker.  The girls picked colors and we even had some strawberries that I blended up and added to some of the frosting.  Then we set to work.  Frosting and sprinkling and EATING.  It is pretty incredible how many cupcakes we put away.

Some time during the frosting a knock came a the door.  I forgot I had ordered fresh made donuts from the seniors.  Before the night was over the girls put away all 20 donut dots (like donut holes) too!  By this point we were full of sugar, though no one was tired we all agreed it was a good time to put on our PJs and out came the stuffed animals.  We played a few board games and a few of the girls made up games, then painted out nails and had another cupcake or 2.  We were starting to slow down,  at least I was.  They asked for a bedtime story, since I am not good at making them up myself I looked up one of my favorites online, The Gift of the Magi.  I think Oh Henry's big words put us all to sleep.

We all did a lot of this :)

So creative, my students.
 The next morning we were all up bright and early for Pinewood Derby day!  It was also senior store weekend so I took the girls to breakfast.  Then on to the Derby.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked into the gym.  There was this crazy track, with all kinds or electronics to project each cars speed, super high tech with photo finish and everything thing!  All the way out here in Kijabe!  I knew this was a big deal, but I was blown away. I had the job of carrying cars up on trays to be placed on the track and directing the competing students.  The cars the kids had made were amazing too!  What a fun day/ weekend/ term to remember!
Out for breakfast! Asante Senior Store!

Some of my 6th graders- ready to race

More 6th graders and the awesome cars they made!

Cars waiting to race

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ndege Dorm

What do hair whipping, conversations about snake houses and your favorite internal organ to eat, and eating cake face first have in common?  My seventh grade dorm girls!Every Thursday night I do dorm cover from at Ndege dorm with 10 wonderful 7th graders to give their dorm parents a night off. We do homework together in study hour, we are enjoying a biography about Amy Carmichael in devotions, I get to hear about 7th grade drama at RVA and life in the bush that is their home.  These girls have homes of origin range from the UK and Germany to Brazil and Korea.  Their parents are in place like Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya.  They are such a diverse group of girls. 

It is never a dull moment with them.  A few weeks ago we were talking about life in Ella’s family’s village and she said something about a snake house.  I asked, slightly horrified, “What is a snake house?”  2 other girls looked at me like I must have been living in a cave to not know what a snake house was.  Ella simply said, “Its a house where snakes go”... “Oh... of course”.... I needed more clarification.  Specifically one is put up when an area is cleared to give all the homeless snakes a house that is not your house.  “OK.”
The birthday girl with her sister
 This past weekend I got to spend some extended time with the girls as their dorm parents were spending time with visiting family.  It was kind of like a sleepover.  On Sunday it was Sarah’s birthday.  I had previously found out that vanilla and strawberry were her favorite cake flavors.  Wonderful Kijabe HAS strawberries!  So I made a vanilla cake that was very sticky and a pain to get out of the pan, but with the help of Maggie and her ingenious idea to cut the cake into 2 pieces I was able to get it out.  And icing covers a multitude of mistakes.  And some extra strawberries help support a sinking center.  I also found out that Sarah’s favorite color is pink, so the strawberry icing was perfect.  (guess I should have expected this from the girl who told me, as she painted my nails, that the 3 things she always has with her are her nail polish, makeup, and jewelry.  Not all girls from the bush of Africa are tomboys :)  I didn’t have any birthday candles but they all seemed pretty pleased with the red tea light in the center.  After this, per their birthday tradition, everyone dug in face first and left not a crumb or a speck of icing on the plate.  I love my 6th graders, but 7th graders are pretty fun too.  I am blessed to be a part of their unique, wonderful lives.  And I am glad they can be one of the many parts of my life at RVA.
Strawberry delight!
Dorm tradition!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Titchie Field Day-Western Style

This has been a busy weekend.  Friday was open house where parents could visit and sit in on classes.  The seniors had "senior store" a food fundraiser for their senior trip.  As a result I have consumed half a dozen donuts and 2 cheese burgers in the last 48 hours!  And on Saturday in the elementary school (aka Titchie Swot) had field day.  I was out bright and early and met my 2 high school helpers to set up barrels for a horse race/ chase game that we came up with.

There were about 10 different "booths" set up around the field.  I put on my southern accent and introduced each group of students to my two best stick horses: Freeman and Molasses.  Just in case you were wondering Molasses is not slow, she just has a beautiful brown mane.  Our first group had only 3 kids, so the three of us leaders played with the kids.  Let me tell you, at this altitude I was plum tuckered out in about 5 minutes, and sweating for perhaps the first time since I arrived at RVA.  Fun was had by all and some of the kids even tried out their country accents too.  Here are a few snaps of my students enjoying the day.

Freeman can really fly with the right rider :)

My co-teacher Hanna!
happy girls

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Staff Hunt

To be student at RVA is kind of like being at camp all year long. I sit here on Friday night tired from the second week at school, but happy. I am still wearing my long sleeve shirt, wool sweater, scarf and fleece, not to mention my double layer leggings and yoga pants, and wool socks. Tonight we played a game called “staff hunt”. All the staff goes to hide in hedges, trees, ditches, one even in a trash can. Then 5 minutes later, about 100 children, kindergarten to 6th grade, are let loose to try and find us. Not being totally familiar with all the elementary grounds, I had staked out a somewhat comfortable looking flower bed that was away from a lot of the traffic. I made a b-line for it and wriggled around to get a comfortable position on the bumpy ground under the long leaves of the lilli like flowers. Did I mention I also had brought a hot water bottle? (another great idea) and I stuffed that under my fleece. I was feeling almost comfortable.

I soon heard screams of children hot on the search. In a little while I heard the foot steps of kids, and the beams of flashlights cutting through the dark night. (kids second grade and under got to have this advantage.) But no one bothered to inspect the flower bed very carefully. As it got quiet again, I began to wonder if I was sharing this spot with any other creatures, there was a loud russell on the other side of the bed. There was something dark sticking up and moving, fear struck in my heart for an instant as I considered if this could be my greatest fear... a snake? But as the moon light caught it I could tell it was the tail of a cat and I shooed it away. However at this point I was getting a little lonely and even hoping that someone would find me. Part of the game is that when kids find you, you give them a piece of candy. I still had my pretty big bag, so I decided to have a piece. Mmm, lemon. Then whenever kids would come near I would russell my candy wrapper in hopes they might get clue. Finally one of my students Joshua was passing by, a bright young guy. I was sure he would see me, he starred for a while. Finally I made a move and he saw me and then came with 3 others in his group to claim their piece of candy. Finally a little excitement! I waited and waited, I recognized the voice of another of my students saying that we still had 45 minutes! My hot water bottle was loosing warmth rapidly and my initially comfortable position was not so comfortable any more.... I ate another piece of candy.

Another one of my students found me with his group. Then little boy searching on his own whilst singing “Jesus loves me”, pronounced, “I found you” with no help from me at all. Then he said sweetly that I could keep his piece of candy for myself, he must have been pretty good and was already sick of candy! I told him thank you and that I had already been helping myself. Finally the finish bell rang and I climbed out of my hiding place covered with grass and dirt and made my way back the meeting hall. I met a few students on the way, and shared more of my left over candy. They had had a ton of fun, which was the point after all :) While lying on the cold ground wasn’t maybe my ideal way to spend a Friday night, I am thrilled to be here teaching these kids, a part of their lives and contributing to a fun Friday night! And I have to admit it wasn’t all that bad :)