October 2012

Greetings from a wet Rwanda! The rainy season has begun in earnest, with tragic consequences for those whose mud-brick houses are swept away. Several people have been killed when their houses collapsed. Water is an unstoppable force as we in Britain know well this year also.

Better news for us at the school however, our retaining walls and new gullies around the property take the water safely away from the premises and our rainwater catchment tanks are full once again.

It will soon be the end of the school year and we will have our closing meeting on Wednesday. The parents of the children come to school to receive the annual reports and the children perform songs and small plays. Unfortunately there will be no photographs as my camera is broken. I am very grateful to Wilma for the majority of the photographs below.

But first of all our congratulations to Jonathan who was nominated as Teacher of the Year. I have said many times that we know some special people and Jonathan is one of them. Here he is at the presentation, with his parents and making a speech, during which he mentioned us so we are well known in Australia now.

I told him that recently here there was a meeting for World Teacher’s Day and that a winning teacher of the year received a cow as a gift. Cows are very important in the Rwandan tradition and usually a cow would also be presented at a wedding. Nowadays this is changing and I have attended weddings where a symbolic cow in the form of money and a cow-bell is given to the family of the groom. The expectation would be that once the cow has a calf then that would be given back to the bride’s family.

I think Jonathan was rather glad that he did not receive such a gift – as he said, it would have been difficult to fit into his apartment!

Amongst other things sent out in the container, there was a water tray donated by a Cumbrian school. That along with the bikes has meant that the activities for the group work in the nursery could be expanded. It took the children quite a while to get the hang of it, but they soon began to enjoy it. It demonstrated just how much we take for granted for our own children.

Staff are introducing new activities and contributing new ideas. We recently found some small storybooks written in Kinyarwandan for young children and it is lovely to see the teachers and assistants sharing books with the class.

The children themselves took the initiative to form a football team and arrange matches. They were very professional in their warm-up session for their first ever match. We had shirts and shorts but no boots and in the second match they were playing against a team with the full kit which they found a little intimidating, but it has not dampened their enthusiasm and we will hopefully soon have boots for them.

As you can see, the pitch was also less than favourable, but, as they say, a good time was had by all. Great things from small beginnings, onwards and upwards!

Here below are a few pictures of us in action during this term, having fun, learning new things each day and being happy just to be together.

I think some of us wish we did not have such long names!

Our new volunteer, John, has helped us to start ‘Sport Friday’ to encourage the children to try out different sport/co-ordination skills. It is good fun and mixed groups develop social skills also – time for the teachers to have a bit of fun as well.

And so I think everyone is looking forward to the end of another successful year. Everyone has worked very hard and we are going from strength to strength. I cannot say often enough how grateful we are to our kind and generous supporters all over the world; we simply cannot do this without your continued support, so I thank you very much on behalf of the people of the project here.

The children are eagerly looking forward to Vincent’s arrival next week, they enjoy their holiday club so much. We will also welcome Andrew and Richard who are going to continue the holiday club when Vincent leaves.

We are so very lucky with our volunteers. We said goodbye on Friday to Wilma, my friend and former colleague who has worked tirelessly helping us to sort out very many things, including the paperwork for the Primary children and organising their new school materials for the beginning of the New Year. We will be sponsoring 101 Primary children in 2013 and we will have 180 children in the Nursery section, a huge increase from the 85 children we started with in 2007.

Thank you also to Rudy and Leonie who visited us recently and donated enough money for us to add fish to the lunchtime meal during next year. From the photographs we recently took of the Primary children it is so very obvious how fit and healthy they look, due to the regular food progamme. Absence through illness is greatly reduced now and Francoise does amazing things in our small kitchen each day. Here are a few of them.

Thank you so very much for giving them this life chance, something which they and their families would never have thought to be possible. Together we are changing lives. Through the sponsorship scheme we are helping many children. Sponsorship is the means to ensure our long-term sustainability, so I offer you heartfelt thanks on behalf or everyone.

Wherever you are in the world I wish you happiness, peace and good health. The next news will in all probability be in January and so I take this opportunity to wish you all Merry Christmas and a New Year full of all the things you could wish for.

I close with a photograph of my Rwandan Granddaughter Megan at the celebration when she was presented to the family.

I feel confident that it will bring a smile to your face.

Very best wishes to all, Meg

More pictures are on our facebook page Kinamba Community Project.

For more information on the project visit www.kinambaproject.org.uk

Thank you.

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