October 2008

news_Oct08Dear Friends,

October. And in the UK, the wonderful colours of autumn. It made me think of the two seasons in Rwanda - wet, and dry - very wet and, in August, very dry!! I know it has been raining there recently, sometimes with catastrophic results as overcultivated areas experience mudslides and flooding and our families in town are struggling with leaking roofs and wet earth floors. Many of the children suffer from infections at this time of year.

The end of October sees the end of the school year. Traditionally the top ten achievers of each class are applauded and celebrated. They come out and receive their reports to the acclamation of the gathered parents. During the previous two weeks the children are tested and marks recorded. Those who do not reach the grade usually repeat the year, though there are moves to abandon this system.

I have talked a lot with the teachers about this, about the fact that the children are very young and that nursery school should be about enjoyment and exploration, not tests and marks. We have also discussed the fact that all children are special and achieve things in their own way at this early stage, so we should celebrate the achievements of all at the end of term.

I shall not be there at the end of this term, so I am wondering what the celebrations will be like! There is so much to celebrate I know there will be singing and dancing though, we have been working hard on extending their repertoire.

Otherwise, we worked on all the paperwork for registration as a local Ngo and this has been completed now. We have also completed the registration of the purchase of the building, so we can plan for the future with optimism. I am currently working on the papers to register as a charity in the UK, which hopefully will be completed soon.

We have been in contact with Outward Bound New Zealand and hope to arrange some courses on personal and community development with them during next year. The adults now attend training once a month on HIV/Aids information and prevention and a local group presented a drama on domestic violence recently, something which is not yet openly addressed in Rwanda, though the government is beginning to work on this.

The adults are doing very well with their projects and are opening up a market for their products. We are making bags for Kigali Memorial Centre which gives them, and us, some income.

Here are a few images, which I hope you enjoy.

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These hats are courtesy of Matthew's grandma - she made many, which Matthew brought with him in July. Word has it that she and her friends are busy making many more - they are much sought-after in Kigali! The boys have received an award for their work in raising funds for the school, and rightly so, they have done a marvellous thing and we are so very grateful to them and their school for their magnificent support, without which, we would not have been able to purchase the building - Thank you Dowdales!

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Looking over Kigali before the wall was completed and the basic numeracy class taught by Tamarr. So for the future, when funds are available, we will continue to develop the building to provide more
classrooms and spaces for the adults to work. We will be adding a Primary 2 class in January, we continue to need funds for salaries for staff. We want to build kitchen facilities so that we can give the Primary children porridge and bread and increase the numbers of children eating at lunchtime.

We are making progress with the sponsorship programme now, if you want to know more about this, please contact us as this helps to make the project sustainable for the future.

For people in the UK I hope to take reading glasses with me in January. If you have non-prescription glasses which you no longer need, or you add a pair to your supermarket trolley when you do the weekly shop, please contact me and I will send an address for you to send them to me in the post. Thank you.

I continue to be most grateful for your kindness and support, we would not have a project with out you.

I hope that, wherever you are, you are in good health and good spirits.

Thank you so very much for everything. Meg

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