Saturday, November 12, 2011

What marked your week?

Several things have marked this week for me. The first one was finding some CD's of "old music" (as our kids would call it) while I was searching for a computer software CD. I decided to pop them in for a listen after so many years. They were Petra's 'Beyond Belief', and 'Unseen Power'. What's funny is that even though my kids consider the music old-fashioned, it was pretty controversial in its day, mostly because of its style. Some people figured listening to Petra was "trying to walk the edge without falling in". After listening to them again though, I have to say that the messages those songs carry still challenge and inspire me. So for me, that is the music of the month. Old or not.

Another thing that marked this week was contact with friends I haven't heard from in a long time. I need to keep moving on the main theme here so will keep this short, but I remember this couple as being an inspiration AND a ton of fun during a year that held certain challenges for me as a teenager.

Okay, onto the party. I think I've mentioned recently that the end of October marks the end of the school year here in Moz. So this is the mission's "School's Finished" party.

The party took place in the open air, in the shade.
The balloons helped make the day feel that much more special.
Special thanks to Francois (Rauch) and the school teachers for all their work not only throughout the year, but also for the work that went into this wonderful celebration.

But first, we had to get there. The school is off back in the bush and this year with the bush fires, the one bridge had burned down. There is a round-about way but it is much longer, so we opted for off-roading through the dry riverbed.

You can see the burned bridge in the photo below.

By the time we got there, a fair sized crowd was already there waiting for things to begin. Here are some of the students waiting patiently.

The sun was shining brightly, and it's HOT this time of year. As the sun moved, we kept having to move the seating arrangement around to get into the shade.

There was a table full of prizes for those with best marks. Even a bicycle! In the end though, no one went home empty handed. Everyone got something.

There was no dry ice show or confetti for the prize winners, but there were plenty of bubbles!

It was nice to see parents and grandparents alike attending the event.

This is my friend Val and with her kids and grandkids. She was in the women's literacy class back a few years when I taught it and although she only speaks local dialect and I only speak Portuguese and English, we somehow manage to communicate the basics. We don't see each other often anymore, but when we do, there's always an immediate connection.

One of the mommies attending the event.
Here, she and her two little ones are headed up to the water pump for a drink to cool off.

After the prize giving ceremony, plasticized ID cards were handed out to all the kids from the sponsorship program. A picture of yourself is an absolute luxury out here, and these that are especially prepared and sent over from Canada for these children are quite the treasure. The card is brightly colored and has a picture of themselves plus an inspirational verse to encourage them.

Handing out the cards. The fun part for me is watching their reactions.

Examining the photo and verse closely.


In the center here is (I believe to be) our smallest preschooler. She used to receive milk at the clinic from the milk program, and now that she attends preschool, she receives nutritious food each day.

Even she takes a loooong look at her beautiful card!

Smiles all around!

The girl in blue below acted quite cool about the whole card thing initially but I noticed that she withdrew to a quieter spot by the wall to examine hers. And then I caught that cute smile that I knew was inside somewhere wanting to come out!

Haha, then she caught me and saw my smile too ;)

The kids gave several very boisterous cheers to all who make it possible for them to go to school, have a lunch program, receive prizes, have a party, etc.

So for all those of you who give, pray, and love these kids from afar,

Thank you for being an inspiration to so many beautiful lives.


Todd said...

I enjoy reading about what you are doing in Mozambique!

Janette said...

Seeing the pictures of the children smiling and enjoying their end of the year party...bring so much joy to my heart. Thank you for sharing them!