Today we celebrated openings of the 6 schools we installed yesterday: Zale, Pagei, Ndrinyi, Ngume, Zeu and Papoga. It was very fulfilling to see the culmination of a year of preparation. Here are comments from our youngest team members:
Mary Elizabeth Thomas
Today I cut the tape to open the Papoga library and watched children of all ages stream in to borrow books.
Today I made many new friends. Two girls in particular asked when meeting me, "can we be friends?" We talked for a few hours and bonded despite all odds.
It is not every day that I have a chance to help the students medically and educationally. Passing out vitamin A and Abendazole (deworming medication) at the libraries uplifted the students and myself as well.
After we required that all the children take deworming medication before entering the library, noting their apparent reluctance, we were surprised to be approached by the teachers and some parents pointing to their stomachs and saying, "and me!" I was also surprised when I saw a young boy puzzling over a book he pulled from the shelf on how to tie your shoes when I noticed that neither he nor his classmates were wearing them.
Today I got to see the finished libraries and the smiling faces of the children that found a book. I also was able to work with Austin to medicate all of the children and even got to play soccer with the older students.
I sat outside of a library as the eager locals piled outside. As I talked to a group, I became aware of a growing mass of kids behind me. As soon as I turned they began falling over each other trying to back away. I quickly won them back by taking pictures of them and showing them themselves. I will never forget their delighted babble as they pointed to themselves on the screen.
I threw Austin a bottle of coke today and it exploded when he opened it. It was hilarious. (Andrew is in charge of the solar lanterns that we are donating/delivering to the schools and has done a great job.)
Mark Cotham, Jr.
At first, the kids looked really nervous, but once a couple of them had checkd out books, the rest of the kids were unbelievably excited. From then on, my job was simply to removed obstacles between them and the books. It was so encouraging.
Today I handed out medicine for the deworming and sustenance of the students at the libraries' opening. The willingness and eagerness to receive medicine at such a young age. Im very glad that I could make a difference.
Today I read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to all the kids at Pagei school and they just fell literally in love with that book and repeating the words after me. It was really nice being able to see all of the laughing and smiling, and as we were leaving they chanted "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom"
Vicki Jud, a veteran missioner, commented that she has been very impressed by the contribution of the young people. The students can relate so well to them and our young team members are eager to engage the students.