August 19, 2010
In a recent post I told you how we started this Monday celebrating the Day of the Child in Arazaty. We left the first school in time to catch the afternoon party at the Loma Clavel school, which I told you about a few weeks ago. We've been trying to get back to visit this school since finding them, but with more than a month of no classes due to teachers' strikes, weather, and winter break, it seemed like it'd been forever. This little one-room school now has about 20 students enrolled, although I'm not sure they all attend regularly.
We received an offering from the children attending VBS at Washington Avenue Church in Greenville, SC, and decided to use that offering to help the school at Loma Clavel. If you remember, the volunteer teacher (meaning, she doesn't get paid to teach) had been buying the supplies from her own pocket. She's the Avon Lady. So we asked her for a list of needed items, which she brought to us very timidly. The list filled a page. She told me several times that anything more than what they had would be a blessing, and not to feel like they expected everything on that list. For us to just pick and choose what we felt we could get.
Well, thanks to this Bible School fund drive, we were able to buy EVERYTHING on the list, plus a small toy for each child and a few bags of butter cookies to leave at the school for future treats. We even got a little globe and showed them where Greenville is located. We got everything from a stapler and hole puncher, to puzzles and alphabet blocks. We bought notebooks, pencils, chalk, textbooks, play-doh--well, you get it. It was just too much fun to shop for this school, knowing what a difference the materials would make.
We took these children a soccer ball, also, since they were having to borrow from neighbors each day for recess. The mother and sister of the teacher, along with a couple parents, were making hot chocolate over a fire, so we got the chance to meet the families of some of the children. I met the woman who donated the land to build the school, and she shared how they'd worked for the past four years to get the land cleared, the one room constructed, and the foundations for additional rooms started. She was very proud that her daughter was able to now get an education, and that the children of this neighborhood would learn to read, something most of their parents never learned. What a joy to meet her!
We donated several story books in Spanish that Ken's mom sent us a while back (gotta love those yard sales!), as well as a children's picture Bible in Guarani. The teacher has invited us to come back and spend time with the class in the future, so we thank God for a door opening in another school. And thank you, Washington Avenue, for letting God use you to meet the needs of this community.