Graduation Celebrations–July 2016

1         Graduation Day in Kikimi

Graduation Day in Kikimi: Parents and students waiting patiently for the results to the final exams.

Graduation Day in Kikimi: Parents and students waiting patiently for the results to the final exams.

All over Congo, July 2nd marks the last day of school, when students receive their report cards, the results to their final exams and find out whether or not they will be accepted to the next grade. All the parents are invited for that special event, the kids perform poems, songs and skits, and when their child makes it to the top of the class, parents and relatives rush to the front to pick him up, dancing and shouting for joy.

Skit performed in French by the 5th graders

Skit performed in French by the 5th graders

Proud mother hugs her child who made it to the honor roll

Proud mother hugs her child who made it to the honor roll

A representative of the Ministry of Education made the difficult trip all the way to our school to attend the event and give out the certificates to all the students who made the honor roll. He was very impressed with the children’s language skills and performances, seeing most of them only spoke Lingala when they first joined our school.

The representative of the Ministry of Education handing out certificates to honor student.

The representative of the Ministry of Education handing out certificates to honor student.

We also rewarded the first graduate to our tailoring training, Ekuta, one of our orphaned girls. To help her start her own business, we purchased a sewing machine for her to use right there in our center, thereby providing her with a ready-made workplace and needed counsel.

Our first graduate from Tailoring Training

Our first graduate from Tailoring Training

Ekuta, proudly showing the dress she made for her diploma

Ekuta, proudly showing the dress she made for her diploma

Singer sewing machine, ready to be set up, for Ekuta to start her micro enterprise

Singer sewing machine, ready to be set up, for Ekuta to start her micro enterprise

And while all these festivities were taking place, guess what was happening next door in our Maternity? Yes, you guessed it, a new baby was born! A memorable day indeed!

New baby born on Graduation Day!

New baby born on Graduation Day!

Another happy event was Ana’s success in her final high school exams. This called for a major celebration, Congolese style of course: everyone covers their face and hair with flour and drives through the streets honking and shouting for joy. Even in Kikimi, the little kids wanted to congratulate her, but seeing there are no roads there, they simply anointed themselves with flour and flocked around her. Ana is now ready to enroll in Medical School.

Neighborhood children congratulating Ana for her success.

Neighborhood children congratulating Ana for her success.

2         Building Progress

The building for the secondary school is now completed and we are working on manufacturing all the needed desks during the school holidays. This year, we held the graduation ceremony in front of that new building, as you can see on the above pictures.

Outside plastering of the newly built secondary school

Outside plastering of the newly built secondary school

The masons have also started the construction of the second story to the Medical Center, starting with the staircase and bathrooms.

Adding a story to the Medical Center: the work begins

Adding a story to the Medical Center: the work begins

Building of the staircase for the second floor of the medical center

Building of the staircase for the second floor of the medical center

Making bricks and construction work require a large amount of water. We had to ask the help of the villagers to draw water from the stream downhill to refill the cisterns, emptied out during the dry season. As soon as the second story is built, we will be able to install more and larger cisterns, which should hold a sufficient amount of water to last till the rainy season.

Women from the village helped to bring water from the stream for the construction work.

Women from the village helped to bring water from the stream for the construction work.

3         Youth Ministry in Massina

In spite of his accident and broken arm, Gerse continues to faithfully pastor his little flock in Massina (Massina is the name of a district of Kinshasa where they all live). Twice a week, he teaches the 12 Foundation Stones Bible Course, and once a week their little choir meets for practice. Since Thierry bought himself a new keyboard, they are now using our daughter Natalie’s keyboard and Alain’s guitar, which he donated when he left Congo in 2010. Gerse has also started teaching the 12 FS in English to students desirous to improve their foreign language skills.

Choir practice in Massina

Choir practice in Massina

Gerse with his newly printed English Foundation Stones Teacher's Manual.

Gerse with his newly printed English Foundation Stones Teacher's Manual.

 

Real contentment must come from within. You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change and control the world within us. — Warren Wiersbe

To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. – Nelson Mandela

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. — Desmond Tutu

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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