News from Rwanda
Iknow in advance that this article of mine is going to be one of the longer ones. I will try to summarize all that we’ve managed to accomplish during the last year. Although all our projects were regularly written about in our ‘news’ section on this website, I’m going to list them all in one place here in this article.
While we were making a draft for this article, we realized how much we’ve really done. It’s not that we’re bragging, but we’re glad to see such a rich list of events. So, aside from our usual pastoral work, projects in our ‘Padri Vjeko School’ came straight, one after the other, and we managed to increase the number of students as well and also courses. But, let us start from the beginning...
1In January, just like every year, the new school year began. The existing carpentry, masonry, and tailoring courses were joined by three new sections, so now we also train our children to be electricians, plumbers, and welders. Two hundred and twenty-seven students rushed into their classrooms - one hundred and fifty-eight boys and seventy girls. The carpenters’ course was attended by fifty-three boys (twenty-eight in the first year, twenty-five in the second).
Among the one hundred and two masonry students (fifty-three in first year, forty-nine in second), there were three girls. The tailoring course was almost exclusively female; however, among sixty-seven girls, six boys somehow managed to ‘squeeze in‘. The classrooms of the three newly formed sections, in which schooling lasts just one year, were swiftly occupied by another thirty-six students (two girls and thirty-four boys). Therefore, during the last school year we had a total of two hundred and sixty-three students – 27 percent of that number were girls, and 73 percent were boys.
2Thanks to the aid of the German Franziskaner Mission Organization from Dortmund, we managed to build as many as sixteen new houses for our school staff. That is most impressive! Many of our teachers used to live in such poor conditions - not having a roof above their heads and constantly dependent on someone else.
Today they all have their own houses and can serve as an example to all other Kivumu villagers - that going to school is indeed something worth doing! All of the Center’s resources were used during the construction of the houses, which were built by our masonry students, and furnished with the furniture that was made by our carpentry students.
3In May our ‘Tin Man’ arrived - the container from Canada packed with things we desperately need for everyday work. There were also books for our school library. When we emptied it out, we didn’t want to let our ‘Tin Man’ go so easily. So we used it by renovating it and we’re going to use it for office space for our school staff.
4The big gray container was successfully transformed into a real village attraction. Beverly, our guest from Canada, painted it and created a truly colourful beauty which now decorates our school yard.
5With the help of friends from Germany and Canada, we organized several seminars for our teachers. During the school break our teachers didn’t have time to rest. They were busy perfecting themselves. We also organized two tailoring and sewing courses, as well as Math and English courses.
6The books that we received from Canada - 10,936 books in total - were sorted, entered in a computer database and put on library shelves (built by the carpentry students) in preparation for our students’ use.
7We also started the construction of another primary school building. This project is still in progress.
8On the land that we received from the diocese, we repaired the run-down buildings that were already there. In fact, the site had contained four old, dilapidated buildings which were used by a primary school a long time ago. So far, we’ve managed to completely renovate and furnish three buildings with three classrooms and two storage rooms. The new classrooms are now being used by the students of our vocational school because we need them due to a constant rise in student numbers.
9In addition to improving the existing buildings, we also did some geometric and topographic measurements, leveling, and clearing of the grounds on which hopefully, we will start the construction of the secondary school this year.
10We made an additional thirty-five desks and seventy chairs for the classrooms.
11We started a ‘Rabbit Project’ and a ‘Garden Project’, in order to make possible a more varied lunch menu for our students who get a warm meal each day at noon. The ‘Rabbit Project’ involves buying and breeding rabbits so that our children could eat meat at least once a month. We built a big rabbitry, bought first 100 bunnies and regularly made sure that their population was increasing. Now we have around one hundred and twenty rabbits, and the children get their much wanted meat meal once a month.
The ‘Garden Project’ is run by the students themselves. We gave them a piece of our land where together we planted different crops. Now we grow various vegetables, like cabbage, carrots, beans and potatoes for the school kitchen. This way we have lowered our food costs and made possible a higher quality of food for the children.
12In December we ended the school year. After finishing the planned curriculum, one hundred and twenty-six students (ninety-seven boys and twenty-nine girls) left the classrooms for good.