There's more to life at Bethel than classes & seminars

Beyond the green is a place students to share the joys and hardships of being a Thresher.

  • Mudslam, AKA The Dirtiest Volleyball You Have Ever Played

    Mudslam, AKA The Dirtiest Volleyball You Have Ever Played

  • Mod Life: Finding Fun Amidst Stress

    Mod Life: Finding Fun Amidst Stress

The End of a Tennis Season

The End of a Tennis Season

This past weekend were the conference tournaments for the men's and women's tennis teams. Unfortunately, neither team made it to nationals but that does not discount the great and successful seasons they had.
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Pirates Of Penzance

Pirates Of Penzance

Over the past month many of Bethel’s students have been working on the opera, The Pirates of Penzance.
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Bubbert Awards 2014

Bubbert Awards 2014

This year’s Bubberts Awards were on the evening of April 12th. Bubberts was great as always! Everyone looked super spiffy and fancy.
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Concert Choir In Europe

Concert Choir In Europe

The Concert Choir gave a bittersweet farewell to our European choir tour with a final concert on Sunday, this time in front of the friendly faces of Bethel’s campus.
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Diary of a Student Teacher Part 2: The Art Lesson

Last Monday was my very first full-class lesson.  My supervising teacher thought since Art is a once-a-week lesson it would be a good subject for me to take over.  Immediately I thought about the lessons I had planned for my Bethel class (Teaching the Expressive Arts).  Unfortunately not one of them fit into a 2nd grade lesson—rats!

Back to square one.  What could we do that would be fun, an art concept I know something about, and would look good as I’m observed… I tossed around a couple ideas with my mom, but kept coming back to a t-shirt I had when I was in kindergarten.  At church we had put our thumbprints (in paint) on a t-shirt, given them arms, legs, eyes and a smile, and then added text that read, “I’m thumb-body special”.  I thought, why not do something with thumbprint art?

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Diary of a Student Teacher Part 1

I have survived and thrived during my first full week of student teaching.  This semester I’m lucky enough to be student teaching in a 2nd grade classroom in my home school district.  I moved home so my daily commute is only 9 minutes one way as opposed to 40 minutes from campus.  My supervising teacher was actually my older bother’s 3rd grade teaching, so she’s been teaching elementary students for several decades, and she has an awesome way of working with and relating to students.

My first day was Tuesday, January 31.  I was glad it was a short week, and I was really nervous starting out.  Thankfully I had the opportunity to start the school year with my students back in August so I knew something about the general schedule, and at that time knew most everyone’s names.  But here it was five months later and I had only been back in the classroom for one day around Christmas time.  How would the students react to having another adult in the classroom full-time?  Would they respect me?  Would they like me?  Would they accept my direction and correction?  Will I be able to plan lessons?  Will I get along with my supervising teacher?  How will the parents react to me at parent/teacher conferences later this week?  How will I fit into the 2nd grade team?  And mainly, how will I fit into this established classroom and school in general?

Hopefully over the course of the next few months I’ll answer all these questions for you, and let you know what it’s like to prepare to impact children, to love them, and to inspire them to become lifelong learners.  Join me in the crazy adventure of student teaching.  I know it will be a semester of challenges and great rewards.  If you’re interested in teaching someday, or just in learning more about the world of education, I hope my posts will only inspire you to learn more.

 

Second Semster

Interterm has finished up, the break between Interterm and second semester was, as usual, unsatisfyingly short, and our new classes have been in session for about a week.  As previously mentioned, I was in BIFL for Interterm.  It was really an enjoyable experience.  For Interterm break, I visited by boyfriend Ben in San Francisco, where he is doing Voluntary Service with an organization that houses homeless people.  We walked all over San Francisco, up and down hills, across the Golden Gate Bridge, across the Pacific beach, and through many of the distinctive neighborhoods in the city.  It was a really wonderful time, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

This semester should be pretty easy for me.  It’s my last one, so I hope to be able to make the most of it.  I’m in Computers in the Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology, three seminar classes, and Mennonite Life, History, and Thought.  The Mennonite class looks like it will be the most interesting by far.  I grew up in the traditions of the Mennonite faith, but I’m really glad to have the opportunity to explore them more thoroughly in the upcoming weeks.  I also plan to present my senior seminar project this semester, which means that I need to start writing it soon!  But all in all, it looks like this final stretch will be pretty pleasant and hopefully free of as much stress as possible.

 

 

Good Bye Interterm, Hello Spring

Interterm finished last Thursday. Interterm is the month of January in which we take one class for 2.5 to 3 hours everyday. I took Intro to Biblical Studies which is a required course at Bethel. In this course we went through the bible and studied each book slightly in-depth. We were required to know the order of all the books and went through all of the books during our discussions talking about their main stories, genres and inner lying message. Interterm ended well. The class was slightly demanding but it was enjoyable and helps you find out more about your faith and beliefs. It was really interesting because I noticed things about myself and the bible that I had never really thought about before.

Now that interterm is over, Spring semester started yesterday. I will be a little busy, but am excited for what it is to bring. I am involved in my normal newspaper, basketball and classes. I am taking yearbook this semester which is something new for me. I am also taking photography and a lot of Communication classes.Track season is about to start which is exciting. The weather right now is wonderful. Although we hear that there will be a cold front coming this weekend.

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Thank You

This adventure is drawing to a close and the students are tired but still in good spirits. They continue to work well together, engaging in conversation with each other, exhibiting kindness, putting individual needs aside for the needs of the group. They continue to ask probing questions, engage in conversations with local people, and exhibit flexibility in their sleeping and eating experiences.

It had been my goal to publish this blog on a regular basis, but access to the Internet was sporadic at best. At the mission, Internet was often down for days at a time, while sometimes it was on in the morning, but off in the afternoon. During our last week, our travels led to remote locations that did not have access. In their journals, students commented that they found it freeing to be disconnected from technology.

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Zulu meal

Something that is exciting when traveling is the idea of being able to experience and try new things, especially food. A memory that I will bring back from Africa was our traditional Zulu dinner. We had sweet potatoes, some type of a root, tripe (cows stomach), chickens feet and gizzard, spinach, cabbage, corn, beans, steamed bread and SOUR MILK…..that was actually good.

No matter if there were things on our plates that did not taste very well, it was fun to eat things that we would never eat back home. And no matter if we did not like the food, people really love’d to see us let our guard down and experience their way of life. If any of you ever travel abroad, just remember to keep and open mind and not to pass judgement before you try new things.

Austin

Maletsunyane Falls

Today we traveled to Maletsunyane Falls arguably the most beautiful place in all of Lesotho. Approaching the falls the landscape seems plain with rolling hills and small mountainous outcrops. Only until we were right on top on it did we see the deep gorge and the water falling 669 ft. It was a beautiful sight to see but we wanted to go down into the gorge  and swim in the pool below. The hike down was questionable at best. The only path was a herd boy path that is frequented more by goats than humans, so in places the path narrowed to 6 inches of loose dirt on steep inclines. We all made it safely down and were met by the cold refreshing mist. The water was cold but how often does one get to swim in Africa’s tallest vertical falls? It was magnificent to swim in the pool and look up and see only the water pouring down and the sun and white clouds. On the hike up it was easier to find footing after seeing the terrain once, but hard having to leave. Oh by the way it happened to be my 21st birthday.

John Regier

Dirt roads

“I’m beginning to think the best things in the world come at the end of dirt roads.” Says Bill as we round the corner for our stay at the hot springs. Our first re-encounter with first world, consumeristic life. It was glorious to eat whatever I wanted, again, to cleanse myself with an endless flow of rain pouring from the bathroom ceiling as opposed taking a bucket bath with only a few cups of water we hiked half a mile with on our heads to retrieve.

Although the shower was luxurious, I was disappointed to be leaving such a small taste of a balanced lifestyle behind.  Work took all day because it was interspersed with play and social life.  The daily walk to the tap is filled with invested small talk and smiles, kind of like on a small college campus, but more genuine, more invested because there is no hurry, nothing more important to do. The water is pumped by a children spinning and giggling on a contraption similar to a merry-go-round. Their work directly affects them. They work to enhance not only their own livelihood, but their self-worth comes from working for each other, for love. I asked some children what were their favorite things to do, and the unanimous reply was “cooking, sweeping, going to fetch water.

I spent that week in Lesotho completely awe-struck. The lush, green hills clothed in quaint rondavels, animals and people sprinkled about, coexisting in gardens, under trees, the sound of women ululating in the distance. Sounds like a dream,  reminds me of the gloriously simple life of a hobbit.

The breathtaking topography is freckled not only with flowers, but trash, everywhere. Littering is norm in Lesotho. A local told us that they have to litter or the government won’t send people to clean it up. I mentioned to Bill how strange it was. He pointed out that our own society was in a similar state a hundred years ago. Yeah, but there is no way there would be that much trash everywhere.  The sustainable lifestyle of the Lesotho is not something they want. Being able to waste is a sign of affluence. The American dream; a consumeristic lifestyle, is sought after. During a stormy afternoon of some super sugary Rooibus with my host sisters between the singing, silly faces, and giggling, conversation kept returning back our class differences. I’m sitting in Lesotho, with some of the people who are doing way more living than anyone I know and they are wishing upon a car, dreaming to someday be my ‘kitchen girl’ back in flat, disconnected first-world, Kansas.

There is an ancient, lost, natural wisdom the people of Lesotho embody, but they don’t even know how lucky they are. I feel as if our clocks, our every man for himself mindset, our separated, industrially focused lives have tainted our minds. We have been robbed of our nature, and brainwashed by the need to succeed, in order to be good enough. The truth is, what it takes to be good enough, is not to be better, or more talented than others. All it takes is the ability to rest in our small, vital roles in the universe. It requires the sensitivity to listen to the Earth cry when we mistreat the very soil we will inevitably become. We must be mature and vulnerable enough to become part of the darkest, most uncomfortable parts of ourselves and of the fragile world we live in.

Thank you.
Be free, be good, and take care,
Terra

Reflecting on my journey

I began this trip open minded, not expecting anything, but hoping for everything. Hoping to experience as much as I could, though I was blind to depth of what these experiences may be. Now that this trip is near its end, I have time to reflect on my journey. Africa has blessed me interactions with the most honest, genuine, hard-working, and thankful people that I have ever met. Africa has also blessed me with personal experiences of emotional pain and physical suffering, as well as with experiences of genuine faith and meaningful prayer. On this trip I have learned the dynamics of agriculture, Gods farming vs. Contemporary farming, as well as how conservation agriculture can be accessible and beneficial to the people and the earth. This Journey has affirmed my decision to partake in biological and agricultural studies, as well as use my talents as an artist to observe and communicate with the natural world and with people’s of many cultural backgrounds. I am thankful for the growth that I have gained through this journey through the mother land. From this Journey I have been inspired to compose a bit of poetry:

Borrowed breath’s, I have taken deep
Resting bodies on a mountains peak
Plowing fields until arms are weak
With a daunting hope for a harvest to reap
Prayers are given to God for growing
Respect to the ancestors for they are still glowing
The wonders of earth, in my sight, unfolding
This life I live is mine for molding
The people I have met while I WALK this journey
Keep proving to me that all life is WORTHY
Worthy of interaction, not to be hurried
Affirmation that LOVE is the essence so purely
From all beings I can LEARN
Real knowledge is rightly earned
A wise being leaves no bridges burned
Life lived IN LOVE, is a life Fluid yet Firm.
NAMASTE

Samuel “Naleli” Agoitia

Tlokoeng

One thing that has stood out to me during our stay in Lesotho/ South Africa is how welcoming the people are, and how they incorporate song into their lives. The first afternoon that we were at Tlokoeng, the women of the village took many of us girls aside and showed/ taught us traditional Lesotho song and dance. They even had dressed Terra, Natasha, Camile, and Emma up in traditional dresses.

The songs they sang were  beautiful.  There were no instruments used besides buckets that the elderly ladies used as drums.  They sang in harmony and we all held hands.  The women would bring some of us forward into the middle of the circle.  We sat on our knees and waved our wrists in a hula-like movements.  Another part of the dance was to shift shoulders back and forth so their chests would move forward (however you were not supposed to use your torso).  The women were very inclusive in making sure everyone was dancing.  They brought a thin blanket by and threw it over Camille’s head and we all danced and sang around a bamboozled Camille. Eventually Bill and some of the other girls came and the women of the village encouraged us to dance up to Bill (because he is supposedly our chief) on our knees and give him a gift (but all they had handy as a makeshift gift was toilet paper- it was all very funny).

These women were very adamant about us  learning their songs and dances.  When some little kids pulled Amanda and me away and we sat and talked with them, the women came up to us and told us we were lazy for not dancing, and for hanging with the little children instead.

It became apparent to me that singing and dancing is an integral part of community, establishing and strengthening the interconnectedness of this vibrant mountain village.

-Miriah