Thursday, December 22, 2016

Can My Grandmother Come to School with Me?

Catherine is 10 yrs old, a student at St Bakhita's in South Sudan. Her Christmas wish is that her younger siblings and her grandmother could come to school with her, because there is "no food in the villages."  Read her own words....

I am in 2nd grade at St Bakhita Girls Primary School. I come from a village 200 miles away from here. This school is a good place to be. There is education, food and even caring, loving people.

When I first arrived here I had nothing except only one dress on my body; no books, no nothing. Now I am better: learning in class, eating porridge every day and having many friends. Also, every month Sr. Susan distributes soap to us girls and I can get some every time. I really thank God. I am in Typing class on the computer, too, one of the projects funded by MBB. I am happy for all that!

When I was in the village our life was not easy because my mother died, leaving three of us very young.  My father is a soldier at the front line. He could do nothing for us. Me being the elderly child among my three siblings I decided to take up the responsibility to take care of them; otherwise we were going to starve. Every morning I woke up in the dark and went to the forest searching for firewood, wild fruits and vegetables. This was our source of survival. Though I was just 8 yrs old, I could do more than a big person could do. 

When my father saw me working he became happy and proud of me. He decided to send me to school while taking my 2 younger siblings to my grandmother. That is why am in St Bakhita’s today. I study very hard so that in Future I can lift my family from this poor condition if God keeps me and them alive.

When the school closes for Christmas, I will go to look for my family because I miss them so much. If there is a possibility I will request the school to allow me to bring my younger siblings and my grandmother to school with me so they might get some food to eat as I continue with my studies.  I know there is no food in the village because I heard people have moved to other places because of hunger and I wonder how my family is surviving there by now? I pray let God have mercy on them and me and keep us all safe as I travel this long difficult journey to reach them there.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Check the Fine Print

Can you see it?  On the bottom left side of the pink poster?  In the blue ink?  

It says, "GIVE ME A PEN, NOT MEN."  

Girls of South Sudan marched through towns to raise awareness of their desire for education. They are begging parents to allow their daughters to enroll in school, stay in school, and defer early marriage for the sake of their health and future.

Mercy Beyond Borders couldn't agree more!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hey, That Looks Like Me...

Colorful new murals painted by students onto the walls of St Bakhita School last month are drawing a lot of attention from the local community. 

Here's a Toposa woman on the school campus marveling at a canoe in which her likeness sits holding a baby. The canoe is decorated with the flag of South Sudan, a country that remains tragically divided by ethnic conflicts.  St Bakhita School is one of the few places where girls of many different tribes live and study peacefully, side by side.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Recycling Genius

One of the sorry realities of many developing countries is the amount of litter everywhere. Walking along a city street or a country path, you see a landscape marred by discarded plastic bags and plastic soft drink bottles. Rarely is there any organized trash recycling. Few people seem to value keeping their surroundings beautiful.

A group in Port-au-Prince is modeling something better. They use discarded soft drink bottles -- yes, Fantas and Coca-Colas -- to create houses!  They cut the bottom third from the soda pop containers to embed in concrete walls.  The bottle bottoms allow colored light to filter into the rooms, giving an almost stained-glass radiance to the otherwise dark interior. 

These artisans have even managed to make a toilet cubicle look more like, ahem, a throne room!

Really, it's ingenious. 

Next time you are in Port-au-Prince, check them out:
the Haiti Communiterie Hostel, near the airport.