Saturday, January 28, 2012

Welcome Back!

I thank you for your patience over the last month. I took a break from the blog. (There must be a word for that in blogspeak) I suppose I was looking for inspiration and my inspiration returned to school last week. So, the blog is back with more pictures and I hope I could say better than ever.

Last week Mission Amatongas welcomed 52 students into the dorm for the 2012 school year.  Thanks to the efforts of "Meet the Challenge" and all of our great sponsors, each student received a bookbag filled with notebooks and pens to begin the school year. We couldn't do our work here without the wonderful support from so many people. You should have seen their faces when we brought the bookbags into the dining hall. I can safely say that some of these guys have never had a bookbag in their life.

Students holding their new bookbags full of notebooks and pens
 One of the many changes greeting the students was a newly painted Dining Room, which also serves as the 10th grade study hall. Over the holidays new lighting was also installed and much cleaning was done by the brothers and workers.
Students in the dining hall
 The brothers eat supper with the students every evening at 6:30. Twice a week the students eat chicken and the other items on the menu are fish and beans. Of course the traditional staple of the students diet is "Masa", something like cooked down grits, which they love.
Br. Angel with students at supper
 Some of the students attend school in the morning and some in the afternoon. The difference in schedules requires much organization and since the students study 3 hours each day, students are in study periods for the better part of the day. Br. Fabian, the Director of the Dorm, has instituted student monitors who act as prefects for the study periods, meals, work projects and nightly dorm routine.
Br. Fabian, director of the dorm, at opening meeting
 Of the 52 students in the dorm 20 are orphans from the local area. Thanks again to our sponsors, we have already bought shoes, uniforms, towels, blankets and other personal supplies for the orphans. Many of the orphans come with wounds on their lower legs caused by insect bites. These wounds can easily become infected and often leave scars. We have heard of people in the area who have died from a simple infection of an insect bite. Every evening before and after supper, I attend to the wounds.
Br. Chris bandages a wound
 Thanks to our supporters of the Sustainable Support Projects (SSP's) we are in the process of harvesting about 3 hectares of corn which we hope will feed our students for a few months. We battled a few dry spells and fed many monkeys over the last few months, but we still have a good crop coming in.
Picking corn on our farm

Corn being dried
Also over the holidays we remodeled an old classroom and made a large chicken house that can hold about 500 chickens. The chicken project is another effort of the SSP's that will help us in the future.
New chicken house with 200 new chicks
 The students wake up at 5:00 AM every morning and do a variety of chores before breakfast. One of those chores is to cut the wood used by our two cooks. Some of the other jobs include cleaning the dorm, bathrooms, study rooms, and laundry area.
Students cutting wood for the kitchen
More to come! Really


Brigitte Takahashi said...
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Brigitte Takahashi said...

I'm glad you are well brother angel, we miss him a lot in BARRANCA-PERU
congratulations on the mission Amatongas, take care ... kisses ... Brigitte :)