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ANSWERING THE CALL 2014 Africa Mission Trip to Healing Place School in Zambia
In August, our team from Calvary Presbyterian Church in Enumclaw, Washington traveled to Lusaka to build a food/assembly hall for Healing Place. The health department has advised the school that a food hall is required to meet hygiene requirements and to be considered for certification.
The Africa Mission Team and Healing Place school staff thank all of you for your prayers and financial support. It was such a blessing to represent our church and to continue the partnership between our church and Healing Place.
A $5000 grant for Enumclaw Rotary paid for most of the building supplies.
Healing Place was a dream and a vacant lot when VillageSteps, Enumclaw Rotary and Calvary first became involved in 2008 with Pastors John and Thenny Mpanga, the directors at the school.
We had a well dug and built several buildings over the years. Now, Healing Place has over 400 students and a 100% pass rate on the Zambia grade 7 exams. Your support has transformed lives of students, teachers, and their families. Together with Healing Place, we have given great gifts: hope and trust.
Many parents have heard of the success and want their children to attend. This has resulted in the need for more classroom space.
Several of the mission team members had been to Healing Place before and were looking forward to meeting friends at the school. We hugged John and Thenny and the teachers as we arrived. We were welcomed with singing and poetry by the students in charming purple uniforms. As we toured the classrooms, we were surprised to see the office covered with photos of mission team members from previous trips.
Later in the day, we went to town with John Mpanga and bought building tools, an industrial quality sewing machine, a knitting machine, and cloth and yarn to make uniforms.One of the teachers sews uniforms and another knows how to use the knitting machine so the children will have sweaters for the cold season.
On the second day, some of us started working on the foundation for the food hall. Others met with the female teachers and students to distribute bras and sanitary kits and to teach refusal skills.
Days for Girls is an organization dedicated to keeping girls’ in school. It developed a cloth sanitary pad and washing kit so that the pads can be reused. This is so critical for keeping girls in school. Every one of the older girls said they had missed days of school because of their periods. Judy Davis had worked with Days for Girls to create pads to give to the older girls at Healing Place. Every older girl and teacher received a kit and one teacher was trained how to sew them.
Judy had many non-fiction books from her teaching library. We distributed 80 pounds of these books among our luggage and took them to Healing Place. Judy showed the teachers how to use the books in teaching. She also showed older students how to use them to read to younger students. It was so exciting to see two or three younger students sitting around another student reading to them. This will improve the English skills of all these students.
We distributed uniforms Ronda Henry and Krista Hixson had brought and purchased some balls and equipment. Each student received a shirt or a sports jersey for their physical activities.
Dave Dietz had promised one of the teachers, Boniface, back in 2012, that he would bring a guitar for him. He did that and also brought music and taught Boniface how to play. Boniface worked hard and overnight had learned most of the chords. We were able to leave 3 guitars and Boniface will be able to teach others.
We enjoyed playing soccer with some of the students. Krista Hixson, a certified athletic trainer, impressed the athletes with her soccer skills.
We were glad to be able to strengthen our relationship with Zulu, our driver. He took us to his house to see his wife and daughters and to his family farm to meet his mother. While there, he collected clippings of their hedge to plant at the school. As our team started digging the holes for the hedge clippings, several of us thought that we didn’t have enough clippings to cover the one side of the school property. Ronda said remember, “fishes and loaves”. It didn’t seem possible. However, at the end, we did have enough clippings!
We asked Zulu if he would be willing to lead a discussion with older male students about love, sex, and respect for women. It was a lot to ask, but he felt more like a close friend than a driver. He agreed. Since he could speak the local language and was a Zambian, he could speak frankly to the boys. He talked about respect for women and being responsible. Now he is another partner in this mission.
Some of the teachers have to walk for over an hour to get to school. Healing Place constructed a house for teachers’ accommodations. When this is finished, some can stay at the school. This will improve security at the site and encourage teachers to continue at the school.
John Mpanga has joined with other pastors to start two satellite schools. One is about an hour away and the other about 5 hours to the east. A chief in the eastern school area had heard about Healing Place. John told the chief to visit the VillageSteps website. He was so impressed that he gave John 13 hectares to farm to support the schools and a 3 bedroom house to use as a beginning school. A foundation has been completed for a classroom building at this eastern site.
We visited the Tonse women’s co-op and provided Singer sewing machines, a knitting machine, and sanitary kits. We heard after our return that the women had begun sewing the kits.
We were able to complete 5 courses of the walls of the food/assembly hall building by the end of our trip. The construction will be finished by the builder and volunteers.
Other news at Healing Place School in Zambia:
We now provide a monthly stipend for the teachers and funds for school lunch each day. We have lost some of the funding for the monthly teachers’ stipend. That is now a need to be met.
The school has added grades 8 & 9, the reason is that we had pupils who were forced into early marriages and some were in the streets to look for money because after graduation to grade 8 they had no funds.
A new classroom is needed to meet the growth in the number of students. Two grades meet in each classroom at the same time now and it is quite difficult.
All of you have been part of changing lives and the future of generations of families. Whether it has been money, prayers, labor, or encouragement, it is deeply appreciated.
You have given hope to those who may have felt forgotten. This is especially true for girls whose education is often a lower priority for their families who expect daughters to assist with younger siblings, to do chores such as fetch water and firewood, and to marry young. The education of girls can be a threatening cultural change that is resisted. An extreme example of this is the Boko Harem in Nigeria where over 200 girls were abducted.
There is an African saying: If you educate a boy, you educate a man. If you educate a girl, you educate a nation. Also, we acknowledge the tenacity of children who have chores at home and still walk to school to learn. Many of them have lost parents and have limited resources, but they have persevered.
Thank you and God bless you.
The Zambia Team – Ken and Suzanne Popp, Judy Davis, Lauren Hardman, Ronda Henry, Dave Dietz, Michael Dietz, Jeff and Krista Hixson.