Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Volunteer Video

Our volunteers made a video. Check it out. It was from their trip in July 2012 and it's amazing to see how much has changed in such a short time.

Thanks to all our volunteers. We couldn't do this work without your help.

Experiencing Amatongas from Michael Kline on Vimeo.

Monday, March 3, 2014

First Senior Class

The first senior class began the school year in new classrooms built over the holidays in December and January. We transformed an old parish youth center into two classrooms for the 11th and 12th grades using money saved by the brothers in community over the past three years. A drop ceiling was installed to reduce heat, new desks were purchased, new paint applied, a new entry way installed with a door and awning, and additional windows were installed to improve lighting and ventilation.

Seniors busy at work in their new classroom

View of the junior and senior classroom
building from the brothers residence

Students enjoying a break outside the library

Morning assembly, flag raising and national anthem
Our library gets used all day every day. Students can check out resource books or text books and make copies of class materials. The study room is always filled with students.
Students using the study room in the library

Students checking out books in the library

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Harvest Begins

The corn harvest began last week in Amatongas even though it has been raining a great deal. Our first job is to harvest the corn on our farm next to the Mutuchila river, about 5 hectares. The ground is wet but the corn is dry and we couldn't wait any longer. Just about every day we bring in one or two loads in our 5 ton trailer.

On Saturday mornings our boarders load up and help us with the harvest. Many hands help get much work done in a short amount of time.

We can take about 40 students at a time down to Mutuchila.

 Though they like to complain like most teenagers, they have a lot of fun. Most realize also that this is their food they're collecting, so why not help a little.

The pictures below are of the new classrooms being built for the primary school across the street from our school. We are helping construct four new classrooms in order to relieve some of the overcrowding. Presently, some primary school classes use our classrooms. With the addition of many new students in our secondary school the new classrooms for the primary school were sorely needed, both for them and us.

Quality construction not always seen in Mozambique.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

2014 School Year Begins in Amatongas

The beginning of the 2014 school year has not been without challenges. Electricity problems throughout the central part of Mozambique have made this an interesting few weeks. However, it is amazing how quickly people here can adjust. Everyone seems to just go with the flow, even when that flow is in the dark. Anyway, I hope to have more posts as we are now getting a bit more reliable energy.

Resident students return to Amatongas
We welcomed 108 resident students for the 2014 school year. This is an increase of around 40 students from last year. The number of orphans also increased from 25 to 45.

Br. Fabian and older residents help out the new boarders.

Br. Lucas greets a returning resident student

Resident students are shown one of three new dorm halls

Because of the power problems in central Mozambique, we were forced to purchase a small generator so we could at least pump water into our tanks. It's one thing to not have electricity to see at night, but to not have water is another issue. Thankfully, after much anguish and work, we were able to get things hooked up and the water continued to flow. The generator was also useful for our night school classrooms.
The first week, or two, with no or little lighting

Makes supper for 108 students even more fun
The school year began officially with an opening ceremony under the African sky. Parents, students, teachers, and Education Department officials were all in attendance to mark the occasion.
Parents, students, teachers and officials open the school year...

....under the beautiful African greenery.

Planting new trees is a popular way to mark the occasion

Br. Fabian, Director of Resident Students, gives instructions

Students arrive early to sing the National Anthem of Mozambique

Beautiful, and huge, storks take off near Amatongas

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Final Thought for 2013

I can't believe 2013 is almost over. How time does fly. It seems like the time goes by even faster here in Mozambique. Perhaps it's because there's so much to do, but before I know it the roosters and goats are waking me even before dawn and another day begins.

We have been so blessed here that I certainly can't complain about anything. It goes without saying that our orphans we work with in Amatongas keep us motivated and we know the work must continue. So, in my last blog of the year I just have to spotlight one of our sponsors. Without these incredible people who have helped us on the way we would be nowhere. Chrisof Jensen (CHS '84), my classmate back at Catholic High in Baton Rouge, is a great example and just one of those who help us care for these students who would otherwise really have little to no educational opportunities. He sent me this below.

The Jensen Family in Raleigh, North Carolina has been an active supporter over the years and currently supports four students.  "The opportunity to assist in the education and religious growth of these young men, through the good works of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, is very inspirational", writes Christof Jensen. "The support of even one child can make all the difference, and we want to encourage others to support Brother Chris and the volunteers with their financial aide". 
The Jensen family sponsor Arnaldo, Modesto, Paulo, and Jossias
Please consider helping us as our numbers continue to grow. Sponsoring a student is simple and the rewards last a lifetime. 

Brothers of the Sacred Heart Foundation "Amatongas Mission Sponsor" 4600 Elysian Fields Ave. New Orleans, LA 70122

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Holiday Work

Just when you think the work maybe will end or at least decrease a little, we begin new projects. First, we are helping the primary school in Amatongas build new classrooms. This will help benefit our school as well since the primary school is presently using some of our classrooms during the day.

Director of the primary school (left) and supervisor of work

Four new classrooms are being added

Also, we are adding 12th grade in 2014 and we needed to find a few new classrooms ourselves. So, we are renovating the Parish Youth Center into two classrooms, 11th and 12th grades. The building will still be used by the parish on the weekends, but during the week it will be used by the school.

A new ceiling is being installed to help reduce heat, as well as new windows, black boards, lighting and a new door and entryway for the 12th grade.

Carpenters install new ceiling
And finally, the corn update you have all been waiting for. Well, you may not have been waiting for it, but you get it anyway since it's a major preoccupation for me, the brothers, the students, and pretty much everyone living in Amatongas and probably Mozambique. Of course, corn is the main staple of the diet here and in most of Africa.

Below is the 5 hectares of corn we planted just a few weeks ago. Thanks to good rain this new field will most likely be our best and should produce a minimum of 30,000 kilos and hopefully closer to 40,000.
You just gotta love those straight lines produced by our new planter
 Meanwhile our other two fields are looking much better after the rains last week. It seems like they grew a foot or two overnight.
Some students and our parish youth group helping to clean the corn fields
 And when you finally see the corn fields begin to flower, it's a beautiful sight.

The 1st field we planted begins to flower

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Feliz Natal!

From our family to yours, we wish you Merry Christmas!