“It’s like a vacation.”

by | Jan 22, 2019

“It’s like a vacation. We don’t have our home responsibilities, and we get to relax and just hang out together.”  


For our Little Ripples Teacher Training here in Batouri, Cameroon, the participating teachers and cooks have all been staying together in a dormitory at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) compound; the same property where Kelsey and I are also staying. Every evening, from my room, the romantic sound of crickets is overpowered by the roar of laughter coming from the dormitory. I love it. It makes me feel so happy to hear them having fun together, and so this evening, on their final night, I figured I’d go see for myself the happenings at the dormitory.

As I approached, the women welcomed me, eager for me to take their photos yet nervously giggling as I captured the washing, the bathing of children, and the hanging out. I spent some time asking questions, posing for photos, and listening to the many conversations happening at one time amongst the women.
It didn’t take long for me to discover the source of the laughter and the animated, loud voices that drown out the crickets every night. As it turns out, after dinner, the women gather in one room together, all 23 of them, and tell jokes, hang out, share stories from their lives, and talk about their families. I had assumed there must have been a small rowdy bunch, but all 23 of them, in one room! That, I was not expecting, and was even better than I had imagined, for the women are a diverse group with different ages, personalities, languages, and experiences—some coming from the Central African Republic. To hear that they all come together, even after a long day of training, made me feel especially proud of this training and grateful for JRS, our partner, in helping bring the women together. 
Tomorrow is the final day of training and so the women will return home to their villages—about 1.5 to 2 hours drive away—and back to their responsibilities. With it being the last day, they’ll receive a Little Ripples certificate and we’ll happily inform them they are now a part of the iACT Little Ripples family. From the sound of it, they’re already a family of sisters—and all that comes with it. But tomorrow, they’ll also officially become part of a global family of teachers, cooks, and leaders in early childhood education. 


refugees from Darfur, Sudan, living in refugee camps located in Chad.


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current capacity at the RUSA academies