Sunday, March 8, 2009

School to School

These twin girls, orphaned by the Sudanese civil war, are now students at St Bakhita School in Narus, southern Sudan. The setting is less than ideal: blazing heat, 100 or more girls per classroom, some rooms without any desks or benches, few amenities, no running water, rustic outhouses, plenty of scorpions and spiders.... but the 800 students love being there. They come from two dozen different tribes, many of which have long histories of conflict. Here at St Bakhita's, all are learning English, making friends, and starting to bridge those ancestral divides.

Imagine the surprise of the students and faculty when they heard that 4 schools in the United States have been raising money for them! St Mary's elementary school in Sacramento, CA, St Francis elementary school in Bakersfield, CA, Sacred Heart elementary school in Sacramento, CA, and Mercy High School in Middletown, CT have already raised a total of $14,000 for their "sisters" in Sudan.

I am dreaming large dreams now: I dream that the day will soon come when every Catholic School in the U.S. will reach out to schools in Sudan with generous hands. If Mercy schools can set the pace, then everyone will catch the spirit. $50 buys a goat for the students' nutrition. $100 supports a girl at school for a full year. $3,000 pays the annual salary of a teacher. Imagine what we could do together to boost the future of this first generation of girls in Sudan ever to go to school!

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