“It’s 7:30 am. 7:30! I’m late to the dorm; I need to wake up the kids and get breakfast ready!” This is one of the many things I do as a General Helper at Bourofaye Christian School (BCS) - arrive late to Breakfast Preparation.
My role at the school over the past year has been to help the Dormitory Parents take care of ‘their’ children. Why do the students need someone dedicated to looking after them? Because BCS is a boarding school in Senegal for missionary kids whose parents may live and work several hours away. The school provides parents with a safe place for their children’s education, so that they don’t have to rely on inadequate local schooling where they live, or take on homeschooling themselves. And for some parents, involved in particularly challenging areas of ministry, sending their kids to boarding school is really their only viable option.
Around half of BCS students are day students and currently we have about 30 boarders. BCS is one big international family. We eat breakfast together as a dorm before classes, share lunch as a whole school, and eat dinner as a school (minus the day students). The students call staff members “Uncle” and “Auntie”, followed by their first name.
Without General Helpers in the dorms the dorm parents would have a lot more work cut out for them. We make sure the children are at breakfast, school and devotions on time. We help them with homework, listen when homesickness strikes, and are also ‘responsible’ to have fun with them. We organise games, activities and events on Saturday nights. (Capture the flag is an extremely popular outdoor game.) Special events like ‘Crazy Hair Day’, which is self-explanatory, give variety to the school routine.
It’s a joy to do all these things with and for the kids here!
Joey Turk is a former MK (Missionary Kid). His one-year STOMP (Short Term Overseas Mission Program) adventure as a General Helper is now growing into two years.