Saturday, July 27, 2013

More details clarifying the project, departure dates, sponsorship update

 Hi all,

I've learned a lot more about the mission ahead of me and I wanted to share that.  Before I do, though, here are some important departure dates, in case you're curious:
  • August 6 - Fly from California (I'm currently visiting my family) to France for Fidesco training in Paray-le-Monial, the city of Jesus' Sacred Heart
  • August 8-14 - Fidesco training with all the other new volunteers who are being sent this fall
  • August 17 -  Fly to Rwanda!!!
  • ~ August 20 - Travel from the capital, Kigali, to Butare.  I will stay in the capital for a few days to present my work papers and get my visa processed
Now here are the details.  The school where I will be working actually has 600 girls, 100 more than I was originally told.  They are 11-19 years old and it's a boarding school.  The staff is excited to have my help as an English teacher since it became one of the two official languages of Rwanda in 2007 and is still new in the country.  From what I've been told, English is the teaching language at the school, but most of the adults in the country will speak French and Kinyarwanda predominately, and perhaps no English.  It looks like I will pick up a working knowledge of one or two languages while I'm there.  At least I hope so.

My other job at the school has me really excited.  I've never been an English teacher so I will be clueless in the beginning with that role, but the other role is something I've done before.  I am going to be an adult mentor/campus minister to the girls.  As you can imagine, a bunch of girls ages 11-19 have a lot of life-themed questions that they are wrestling with and they seek out the teachers to talk about their questions. The current teachers didn't have enough time to address all the questions so they recommended getting another Fidesco volunteer who can have more time to be with the girls and talk about their questions with them.  That person is me!  I'm super excited because this position fits my gifts.  I would rather spend time with people than finish a spreadsheet or make phone calls and that is what this position asks of me.  I imagine taking a group of girls on short hikes through the forest that is on the school property and engaging them on life issues, just like Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) did when he was a college chaplain and professor.  I plan to join the girls when they play basketball, soccer, and volleyball and become a friend they can confide in.  I plan to try my hand, or rather, my body, at the native dance practices.  It is probably idealistic and naive, but I plan to be with the girls and love them in the things they love.  As a dear friend of mine once quoted, "If you love what they love, they will love what you love."  I want to love what they love so they can love who I love, JESUS!  And even if they don't get there, at least I will have done good by loving them and learning to love.

Lastly, I just got my sponsorship update from the USA director and it's lower than I had hoped.  Sad.  I have about 30% of my fundraising goal either raised or pledged so I still have a long way to go.  That means I'm still looking for partners to cover $7000.  To those of you have donated already, MANY THANKS!  To those of you who are contemplating partnership, DO IT!  I know from experience that it feels so good to be generous, even when you make pennies. 

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