Thursday, January 5, 2012

Djati - New School (Update)

I received many, many pictures today showing the progress of our new school which is being built in Djati. To give you an opportunity to see all the photos, I put them together in a slide show. You will find it at the end of today's post update. This update, courtesy of Maritza.
Last Monday Maritza headed out for Quebo.  She was en route to deliver the funds to begin making the desks for the new school.  She found the roads to be in good condition all the way. The weather was a bit chilly at night and she found it necessary to wear a hoodie to keep warm. 

She was also going to spend the week in Djati where work would be going full blast all week.  Traveling along with  Maritza were a group of kids from Casa Emanuel Orphanage. They would call this trip, a work play camp. 

Once they reached Quebo the children would team up with the Quebo volunteers and travel to Djati about 35 miles away. The road to Quebo passes along side a beautiful river called Saltinho. I also saw where there are plans for a hydro electric plant on the river. You will be able to see a tiny bit of the river in a few of the photos.

Cement had already been purchased and lots of bricks were ready to go. A craftsman had been hired to begin making the desks for the children. I think the new desks will make going to school a lot more productive. Desks will seat 2 adults or 4 children.

About five thirty am a truck pulled in at Freddy's to load the cement that had been bought in Quebo.  They loaded up sand, crushed stone, supplies such as picks, shovels, wheelbarrows and volunteers, (yes volunteers).  The kids from Freddy's group in Quebo along with boys from Casa Emanuel joined forces with the kids in Djati and all chipped in to help out. 

Some kids were assigned the job of going for water. They took turns trekking back and forth. Others brought blocks to the workers while some sifted sand...and on and on went the busy day.

The girls were the lucky ones that day. They did not go with this crew. Instead they stayed with Raquel in the Fula Village of Quebo and there they had a girls campground (the girls brought in from Casa Emanuel in Bissau, along with some run away girls from villages in the south of the country). Many of the children in Djati have never heard of Bissau much less been there. 

Raquel and Freddy have rescued some girls that have been put through some horrendous experiences. The girls help in meal preparation, go to school and for that day were asleep in a room at the school in Quebo. Hopes of building them a large room as a dorm is in the  planning stages. 

Maritza said she was sending me some pictures of the kids in Djati, originally she was going to take photos of all school kids to give to me when I came, (to speed up the process and to save some time as far as identifying them). When Maritza's group arrived, most of the children had already been taken to the rice fields to help their parents. The ones that were left (which were very few), were very dirty. Not quite groomed for that perfect photo shot, but the reality is this, these kids are wearing tattered clothing, and very little clothing. These children live in extreme poverty.  Some of the children are seen in the pictures, huddled over a fire.  It is, after all, winter in Guinea Bissau, and that is the only way they can get warm. The children are so small that unfortunately this type of heating system causes many of them to be burned.

Because their clothing is so tattered and torn, we'd like to get material to have shorts, tops and skirts made to give to the children when we make our visit.

The plan now is to clean their cute little faces and take some pictures of all the school kids when we get there in Feb. We're going to have a blast. We've got some school supplies, soccer balls, balloons and candy to surprise them with.

You can Make a Difference.
If you'd like to help our effort

Enjoy the video

Music by Grammy award winner, Angelique Kidjo. She is a Beninoise singer, songwriter and activist. Samba pa ti is on her 2010 album, Oyo, where she sings of her childhood in the neighboring country of Benin W Africa.

Thank you Maritza, Freddy, Raquel and the host of volunteers and contributors


Anonymous said...

Giving provides such a warm feeling.

Anonymous said...

Great project. You should feel proud. The people and the little ones are lucky. Good luck.

Toni said...

I am going to share this story with everyone I know! It really is amazing to see the children and all the volunteers helping to make this dream a reality. We could never accomplish anything without the help of others. Thank you Freddy, Raquel, their son and all the volunteers, the children who pitched in from the orphanage, Maritza -- I think the moon is for the taking with the power of this crew!