Today we went to Kabanana. Thursday is usually the day that we go to Kabanana. It works well with my housework schedule and thursday afternoon Maureen is free to go and help.
She and Katryn have been going together when I am not available. It works out about every 3 to four weeks that I can go. This has been a blessing to have the two of them working with Fanny and visiting the children's homes.
Today we looked at a house to rent for the orphan ministry and at schools.
We have started looking for a house to rent in Kabanana of which to work out of for tutoring for the kids, bible studies and general times to meet with them there.
Once we find a house, Maureen will be moving there to the house and be employed full-time in the orphan work.
She has been a great help in this area already and used to work with orphans before she began cleaning houses just as a way to make money.
I have told her that I can see her heart is in the work with the kids and not scrubbing my floors. So I am very happy for the new development in this work in Kabanana. She will stay in the house with her kids and use 2 of the 3 bedrooms. The 3rd bedroom will be turned into a classroom and then the Living room is available for meetings and any projects of get togethers with the kids. The house we looked at today had a small kitchen and a small front yard and a small area in the back that can be used for growing a garden. Hopefully at least once or twice a week the kids can come there to have a meal that Maureen will prepare.
Once she is moved up there she will continue to work with the kids we are supporting and hopefully Katryn would be traveling up there several times a week to tutor the kids. She will also go with Katryn every other month to the Copperbelt for a few days and check on the orphans there that are being supported.
We are excited to see this move forward. A few specific prayer requests:
-Please pray for provisions for Katryn to purchase a vehicle.
We have one car that we are sharing between James and I and arranging his work schedule, his times of teaching at Lusaka College, running to get the kids at school and church, my weekly errands, etc.. that sharing with another driver is not feasible.
There have been a few incidents with men making advances at Katryn while using the bus system, simply because she has white skin. She never goes alone and has always had Maureen with her. But when Maureen moves up there in about a month, Katryn will not have someone to go with, and thus not be advised to use the bus system. So a lot depends on whether or not she can get a vehicle to continue visiting the kids there, and tutor them and spend the time that would benefit the kids. As I mentioned I can only spare the time every 3 or 4 weeks to take her up there.
-Please pray for a fair deal on a house to rent and that the Lord would bless our efforts and plans
Also once we have secured a house we will need to make some purchases of tables, school items, chairs etc.
I plan to post a list of items later to see if any individuals or churches would like to take on that as a project, to provide some of these items. more to come on that later...
We have plans to put the children that we are now sponsoring, into better schools next year.
It is great to have them in a school, but we have found out this year that the schools that most of the kids are attending are not very good. Many of the kids walk an hour to school each way and then are in a class of 60-80 students. There are a few that go to a private school close to home. We were at one of them today visiting to pay fees. We inquired about one of the students supported who is preparing to write her grade 7 exams. Evidentaly she does not really know how to read. And this is very typical.
I got a picture of the outside sign. I don't think you can read it well but it said something like...If your kids are having trouble with reading, TRY US!
In just a month and a half Katryn has been tutoring Richard and Mwansa (maureen's kids) and they are already reading much better and are getting good at it
We then visited a school we were thinking about for the kids. It was better than the previous one. We looked at tests and the work that the different grade levels are doing, saw the classroom and spoke to a few teachers.
After there we visited one more school, a christian school. We were very impressed with this school and it was an actual real school.
The others are houses turned into classrooms with every inch of space being used for something. It is fine because they are using what they have, but the classrooms were crowded, dark and dingy.
This last school ELION had progress reports posted of the different grades and had no more than 25 kids in a class. We saw their classrooms and they looked just like you would expect and want a classroom to be. Desks for the children, blackboards, each grade had their own room. They do placement testing to ensure the level of the child and where they should be in school.
Some of the kids we are supporting are way older than what they should be at their grade level.
One boy is 17 and writing his grade 7 exams this coming week. We hope to have Katryn tutoring him and others in similar situations to be able to advance in school and another grade. The more I thought about him, I have been concerned that as he continues in school he will be older than his classmates and when you are 18, 19, 20 and the oldest boy in your home with no father, the pressure upon him to drop out of school or become involved in something else increases with each year he is in school.
So I was encouraged to see this school and hope that we can get the kids all enrolled there.
We are currently supporting 12 kids. We plan to be adding 3 more for the next year, which starts in January 2011. School fees per child at this good school are roughly $48 a month, or $144 dollars per term.
The other school we had looked at was somewhere around $20 a month or $64 per term. A significant difference but we will pray and see what we can do. We know at least for the older kids we want to send them there, so it could be that half of them go to one school and another half to the other.
But we are not deciding yet and will wait and see what the Lord will do.
A good day today in Kabanana. I have mentioned it to a few people, but the times that I am having my sad and missing home days, days when I think about what if we were back in America are NEVER the days that I am in Kabanana or in Kawama, or have just come back from visiting the orphanage.
Those days I am always happy to be here helping in the small ways that we can and knowing the Lord has prepared this work for us to do and that He is going before us. And He is walking with us through the dirt roads of Kabanana helping His orphans.