Saturday, April 11, 2015

And the 2015 Corn Harvest Begins

And the harvest begins in Amatongas, only two months later than usual due to the late rainy season. Soon we will be able to grind our own corn into flour instead of buying 50kgs in town every day. Our wonderful boarders helped fill two trailer loads today beginning work at 5:00 AM. 

We give a huge shout out saying thank you to our brothers, students, teachers and friends at Saint Stanislaus High School in Bay St. Louis, MS who raised funds during lent to help us purchase corn flour during these first two very difficult months of the school year.

Cutting and collecting the corn stalks

Stripping the corn

Loading into the trailer

Bagging te corn to be lifted into the loft

Filling the loft

And we always have interested audiences

Sunday, April 5, 2015

16 Residents Baptized at Easter Vigil

Sixteen resident students were baptized at our Easter Vigil last night. It only took 4 1/2 hours, but we got it done. Happy Easter from all of us in Amatongas!

Each of the brothers sponsored at least two students, some had four

Br. Lucas assists at the baptism

Salvador gets annointed

The newly baptized with their candles

Our 16 resident students dressed in their best for the vigil

Cows Finally Arrive in Amatongas

The two year wait has finally ended. Our 5 new jersey cows and 1 bull arrived in Amatongas. A huge thanks to the efforts of all the students, faculty, administration and friends at Brother Martin High School in New Orleans for raising the funds to build the barn and pay for the cows. Because of you, our dream of self-sustainability is closer to reality.

Land O Lakes delivers the cows

Jersey cows enjoying their new home

They came 5-7 months pregnant, so milk shouldn't be too far away

The young bull seems to happy as well

I wonder how long our kids will be able to play with they young bull

Each jersey cow is tagged and comes with registration

Our First Candidates in Amatongas

Could these young men be the first Mozambican Brothers of the Sacred Heart? It has been great welcoming the first 3 discerners to our community in Amatongas. They will begin their official formation as Aspirants in June and they will travel to Zimbabwe to begin the program with other young men from the area. If all goes well they will become postulants and then begin their novitiate in Lusaka, Zambia. Please keep our three discerners in your prayers as they begin their formation.

The first three discerners, Micheque, Carlitos, and Eurico




Micheque with formation director, Br. Lucas

Kitchen Cooking with Gas, Again

I made a post last year about our kitchen cooking with gas. However, due to some pressure problems we had to abandon the gas and return to cooking over firewood. We are happy to announce now that we have returned to gas full time. It seems like a simple thing, but believe me, it's not so simple.

Once again we thank all those at Manos Unidas for making our kitchen a reality. Now we just have to find a way to pay for the gas. It cost bout $100 for one of the big canisters and we go through about 3 a week.

Our cooks love not having to make a fire everyday

Frying fish is much easier over the burner

The simple pressure valve that made it possible, just couldn't find one last year

Madalena and Ana Paula, the women that make it all happen

Another School Year Begins in Amatongas

I realized recently that have been posting many pictures on facebook and some people don't use facebook. So, for various reasons, one being historical archive purposes, I'm posting all the stuff I uploaded on facebook recently to this blog.

The beginning of the school year in Amatongas has seen many differences from the past two years. Over 1,200 students began the year with 120 resident students. The increased numbers are due in part to the reputation of the school, but also because of the governments decision to cancel our night school. The reasons for this are too difficult to go into detail here, but it is unfortunate for the students who work all day and don't have the opportunity to go to school at night. However, for the brothers at least it gives us a little break in the busy schedule.

One change you immediately notice this year is the increased presence of students and teachers around the school all day. Students and teachers seem to be taking education more seriously.

Students check out books all day from the library

Students in class hard at work

The classrooms are looking great

The school is a buzz of activity all day

The library stays packed all day with students studying

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Figs and Advent

Posted this on facebook, but I realize some people who may read this blog don't have facebook. So, here ya go.

How did a jar of fig jam help me reflect on Advent? Perhaps only my family will appreciate this, but here goes.

Recently I found for the first time in four years a jar of Fig Jam in the big store in Chimoio. When I brought it back to Amatongas I couldn't resist heating up some of our homemade rolls and eating the figs and hot bread. This may not seem like much to most of you, but I know my family will appreciate this for sure. You see, from my earliest days visiting my Grandma Sweeney (Ella) in Lake Charles one of the real pleasures in life was to sit at the counter breakfast table and be served up hot biscuits and homemade fig preserves, and no one made them like Grandma. As I was reflecting on this fact this week I had another realization and appreciation of Grandma. She was someone completely and sincerely selfless, a gentle and holy soul. She always, every minute, lived and worked to make you happy and full. To this day no one can duplicate her chicken gumbo, potato salad, fig preserves and many others, but I don't think it had anything to do with the recipe. It was all about her putting her whole self into what she was doing. Now, how does this relate to Advent you ask? I think it means everything. As we begin this period of waiting on the ultimate selfless example and gift of Jesus Christ into our lives, we must spend time in prayer and reflection on how we can become more selfless, recalling those in our lives who lived and live it everyday, people who are examples of the Heart of Christ in our lives, God with us now. Beyond her food, I remember as if it were yesterday, Grandma would tell me, "you know I pray for you everyday." I have no doubt she did and continues to do so in heaven.

Early Christmas Gift

Thanks to a generous donation in the memory of the mother and father of Br. Noel Lemmon, SC, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Louis Lemmon, Sr., we now have a new roof on the building we are renovating to one day use as a new dorm. The roof was installed in just two weeks and is made of only metal materials. The two big rooms could house around 50-60 new boarders. However, as you can see there's plenty of work left to do. New windows, doors, electricity, floors and of course new beds and lockers will be installed during the 2015 school year, or as we get funds to complete the work. We are very thankful though that the hardest part of the job is done and just before the rainy season. 

The new roof looks great,
but the floor really looks like it went through a war

Just lacking new windows and doors now

A new front wall had to be built to support the roof on one section

Just in case you forgot what it looked like before

This outdoor bathroom next to the new dorm could be renovated as well

It even has some nice tile 

The old toilets need a little work though

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mission Amatongas Article in Vision Vocation Guide

Starting over from scratch

By Carol Schuck Scheiber. Photos courtesy of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart with special thanks to Brother Chris Sweeney, S.C. Moving from New Orleans to Mozambique was dramatic enough. But for Brother Chris Sweeney, S.C. rebuilding an abandoned school out of the ashes of civil war has made life really interesting.

Click on the link below to read full article in Vision

Miles for Moz Race Swag - Amatongas Style

How's this for race swag? It just can't get any better. Sign up to run or walk for Miles for Moz at the Louisiana Marathon, raise $250 with crowdrise and you will receive this one of a kind, hand made in Amatongas shirt. Since I'm coming in for Christmas, I'll be delivering the shirts myself. However, in order to get these for Christmas, you need to register by December 1, 2014. You can register to run the Full, Half, Quarter, 5K, or Kids Marathon. Here are the links: 
Crowdrise Fundraising:
Menes models our "Made in Amatongas" shirt

Fundraising Websites - Crowdrise

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Gas Kitchen thanks to Manos Unidas

Thanks to our wonderful friends at Manos Unidas we have a new kitchen. No more cooking on the floor over a wood fire. In addition to the two new burners we were able to purchase a new industrial vent, pots and utensils as well as a beautiful new sink and table to prepare and store meals. We are indeed blessed to have Manos Unidas on our side. The kitchen also received a new floor, new windows and paint, though it could use another coat or 10 to cover the years of black soot.

Our wonderful cooks, two special ladies loving their new home.

New gas powered cookers with new pots as well.
Gas tanks

New deep sink, even the cat loves.
 Our baker is happy as well because we now have an electric oven. He now can bake 500 rolls a day, but in half the time.
Our baker loves his new electric oven.

Over 500 rolls a day