Thursday, January 19, 2017

Raise High the Roofbeam!

St.Gabriel's, the only all-girl primary school in Gros Morne, Haiti, is definitely pressed for space. The 120-year old school building is hemmed in by adjacent properties. Its 600 girls pack the classrooms to overflowing. 

There's nowhere to go but up!

Mercy Beyond Borders provides a modest maintenance grant each year to the school. This year they're using the money to construct two new classrooms on the second floor. 

It's been fun to watch the rooms take shape at the hands of the skilled Haitian masons.  

Stay tuned!  Many of the 6th grade grads of St Gabriel's qualify to become MBB high school Scholars.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

From Drought to Drench

California has it all: coastlines, mountains, deserts, forests, farmland, cities, sunshine, rain.... What? RAIN?  Yes: that almost-forgotten-phenomenon-that-falls-from-the-skies has reappeared with a vengeance over this past week.

Rain, glorious, rain sloshing in our streets, causing mudslides down our hills, turning brown landscapes to green overnight, and washing away worries of drought.  Of course, rain invites children into puddle-stomping fun (after all, kids under 5 here have barely ever seen rain).  The storms create havoc, however,
for the rest of us navigating the crowded freeways and back roads of the SF Bay Area.

I do not scare easily.  After all, I travel in war zones. I co-exist in S.Sudan with men toting AK-47s.   But last night I was scared while driving in the Bay Area along a stretch of rural road known as Niles Canyon. Threading my way along the 2-lane road in the midst of a downpour, with a steep cliff on my left and a tumultuous river on my right.  Trying to see past my windshield wipers. Startled by granite boulders as large as suitcases crashing down from the cliff and tumbling across the road in front of me. Unnerved by seeing several damaged vehicles stopped on the right shoulder, evidently already hit by rocks. Nervous about the uprooted trees cascading in the swift current just a few feet below the level of the road.  

Well, there was no place to turn around, so I just kept driving.  My knuckles were white when I reached my destination.  After breathing deeply for a while, I was able to give my scheduled presentation to a parish group.  You can be sure I drove home by a different route!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Enthused about the New Year!

What better way to start
the New Year
than with the exuberance of youth?

These are a few of MBB's 142 Scholars in Haiti.
They have good reasons to rejoice:

They are in high school
(Haitian females average 2 yrs of schooling).

They have full academic scholarships
(most families cannot afford tuition).

They live in MBB Boarding Lodges
(their family homes are in the distant mountains).

Their future looks B*R*I*G*H*T...
(they'll escape Haiti's 80% unemployment rate)
They have
supporting their dreams!