Bridging the Gap
Hello my friends,
As I sit in a trendy coffee shop, watching folks drink their frothy lattes and eat their warm, sticky waffles, I struggle with how to best communicatethe needs of a few small schools in rural Mozambique, Africa. How can one bridge the gap between the realities of our lives in the western world with those in impoverished, developing nations, where hunger, disease and death are so common?
I am now teaching a very small preschool program here in the United States, in Bend, Oregon. It’s so much more challenging than I ever thought itwould be. Children want their snacks, they don’t want to engage, they refuse to participate. I haven’t been confronted with this reality in such a longtime.
In many ways, I guess I’m still used to my little classroom of students in Mozambique – so hungry to learn, so eager to please, so ready to engage inany activity that I put before them. Though I’ve been stateside for years now, the dirt, hunger and hardship of life in developing nations feels very familiar to me, where children’s eyes sparkle as they enter their classrooms and where there is palpable astonishment from the parents – over how intelligent their little 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds really are.
I know that neither you nor I will ever be able to fully bridge that gap of understanding between two very different cultures and ways of life. What we can do, though, is help to educate and feed these children. In 2024, we’ll have over 150 students in our 3 schools and around 150 graduates in our after-school programs.
For the students in our schools, the contributions that you make towards the Child Education Center contribute to not only their education, but alsoto feeding them during hunger season (the time of year between planting and harvest when a family's food supplies run out). We also use that funding to purchase a uniform for each child, complete with a pair of underwear and flip-flops, and a jacket for them to wear during Mozambique’s cold, rainy season (which helps to ensure that they’ll make it to school on those chilly mornings).
The funding also greatly benefits the community, as we are currently employing 19 Mozambicans, from full-time teachers and assistants to part-time gardeners and cooks. Our wonderful, dedicated, hard-working staff have work - work that provides funding for housing, food, clothing, medicine and transportation for themselves and their families. And we want to continue to grow!
…and this, my friends, is only the beginning. We also offer after-school reading, math, and bible programs, in addition to youth clubs, and have a week-long VBS (Vacation Bible School) during the summer. I would be honored if you chose to contribute to the well-being and success of our work in Mozambique. Every joy, Julie