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First grade teacher prepares for African adventure

Sarah Deal is not your average first grade teacher. After she finishes her fifth year at Chief Kamiakin Elementary School, she'll be leaving behind Sunnyside, Washington and even the United States for an entirely new teaching adventure in Africa.

Deal was raised in Camas, where she graduated from high school. She originally attended the University of Washington to study art and languages, where she even spent two months in Oaxaca, Mexico studying Spanish.

But during a career exploration class at a community college, Deal got turned toward education. She says she loved learning about all kinds of subjects and enjoyed working with children.

"I just love their perspective of the world," she said.

But Deal was also interested in pursuing mission work, which Deal knew would involve a great amount of teaching.

Deal transferred to Washington State University in Vancouver, where she finished her education.

After graduation, Deal came to work in Sunnyside. She purposely selected Sunnyside because it was a small town and had a high Spanish population that would allow her to utilize her Spanish language skills.

As a teacher, Deal says she really enjoys seeing students enjoy learning and taking their own initiative in furthering their knowledge in their own interests.

"I really love seeing the kids have enthusiasm and taking their learning as their own," she said.

But this July, Deal will bid Sunnyside farewell and leave for Tanzania. She will be working with an organization called Wycliffe Bible Translators in the African country, where she will teach the children of the missionaries working on translating the Bible there.

Deal had to find volunteers willing to contribute to her monthly salary for her two-year mission in Tanzania. These contributors work through Wycliffe Bible Translators and Deal has 95 percent of her income committed by these volunteers.

She is still looking for that last 5 percent.

This is Deal's first trip to Africa. Other than Oaxaca, she has also been to Bolivia, so she knows what it will be like to live in another country.

"I know there are things that will be hard, like getting sick and missing family," she said. "But I also know that I want to do this. I am excited about all the good things that will be a part of the experience."

Deal also keeps a blog that she updates monthly. She plans to keep up with the blog during her African adventure.

The blog can be found at sijambosarah.blogspot.com. People interested in Wycliffe Bible Translators can find a link to the organization through her blog.

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