We finished library installations today with 2 groups going to 2 different schools, putting books on the shelves and celebrating their openings all in a few hours. One group worked at the Abonga Kubi school and the other at Arii.
Abonga Kubi is a government assisted school, as are just about all the schools we visited. As recently as 2 yrs ago, it was deserted. Gilbert the Headmaster was charged with its reopening. The school has grown from 90 students at its initial opening to almost 500. They have 8 teachers and their school motto is “play hard, work hard”. They also strive to incorporate Christian principals into the curriculum. All of the schools have school yard signs encouraging high morals and good health practices: “Virginity is Health”, says one sign, “No Fighting”, and “Be Honest and Do Not Steal”, “Avoid Going to Dangerous Places”, but our favorite is probably, “Do Not Accept Gifts for Sex!” Many children walk miles to and from school each day.
The other school visited today was Arii. They also have about 450 students. Their reception was clapping as the volunteers arrived. The library went into a small area with our youngest members doing most of the shelving. It started raining in the middle of the ceremony, but that didn’t deter them from thanking the volunteers. One student read a poem he had written for Mark. It was a beautiful poem, and they gave us copies of it. The school also gave Carolyn Cotham a thank you gift that was a pretty hand carved lion. The ride home in the rain along the dirt roads had the bus hydroplaning into the grasses along side the road. The boys in the back of the bus raised their arms mocking a roller coaster ride pose!
The afternoon was free to do whatever interested us. Some went to the Health Center and unloaded 15 boxes all containing medical books for the center. Health care workers there were very encouraged to have such valuable information at their facility. Many thanks to all who made that powerful donation possible.
A smaller group including Mark Sr. and the local District Chairman (similar to the Zombo District Governor) went on a tour of many area facilities, including: a seedling farm that experiments with new plant/fruit species to introduce into the local farms; a hydro plant that ideally will bring power to the villages; as well as viewing city plans for zoning and building restrictions for commercial and residential development. Those with the power to implement some of these improvements seem to have a clear vision of what steps need to be taken. The plans are in place, now making them a reality is the next challenge.
Tonight we are showing The Jesus Movie in the local language-Alur, and it is being watched by a number of villagers.
This group of children who live by our compound are always playing outside. Yesterday our boys engaged them in a game of Duck, Duck , Goose. It was hilarious! They picked up on it right away. There was much commotion this afternoon outside and after checking on the source of it, we saw the kids playing the game without the boys. They had allowed a stretching of the rules; however, and some were running around the whole yard to avoid being tagged. It will be interesting to see what other practices of ours will be adopted. Claris, the lady that cooks most of our meals, has learned how to make guacamole, garlic bread, and fry fish (all under Peggy Burck’s instruction). She says she likes these new recipes, but who knows if she is just being polite.
Thank you for your interest in our mission and for following our blog. Tomorrow is our last day here. I’m sure our hearts are changed more that any changes we may have brought to the village.
(editing by Mark and input from Vicki Judd)