Saturday, February 18, 2012

Amatongas Library, Pig House and Farm

I have mentioned in the past about the lack of textbooks in the school. This, of course, is not a isolated problem as I have learned that very few schools in Mozambique have textbooks for students. Anyway, we received a few boxes of books a few weeks ago, but only a few resource books now make up the Amatongas Library.

As you can see in the picture below, students can check out the only textbooks for the school and they must copy by hand. The only other method is for teachers to read from the book and then the students copy what the teacher reads. We are thinking of using a copy machine in Chimoio to copy a few more textbooks to make it easier for the students. We are hoping it will not be too expensive.

The Amatongas Library

Students copying from the only textbooks in school
 Our pig house was in need of expansion as we are awaiting the birth of three litters from our sows any day now. We constructed the space so that it would be easy to wash down with a hose. The pig quarters are washed out twice a day by our worker, Zeca. It must be the cleanest pig house in all of Moz.
Pig house expansion

Sow enjoying her new larger home
 Resident students put in a few hours of work planting beans in our farm recently. We will hopefully be harvesting 3 hectares of beans in a few months.

Resident students planting beans Saturday morning

Santos planting beans and smiling as always

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The nets go up!

If the electricity would cooperate, I could meet my goal of posting one blog a week. I'm getting close.

Monday we finally found some Mosquito nets in Chimoio for about $3.70. Br. Angel and students finished installing the nets today. In case you don't know, sleeping under a net is one of the best ways to prevent mosquito bites and preventing malaria. We hope it helps our students who have been having a difficult time lately with sickness due to malaria.

Br. Angel and students putting up nets

Br. Angel and students in dorm
 Since we don't have a machine to dry our corn, it must be done the old fashioned way. Our students put the corn out most days to be dried under the sun. We didn't harvest as much as we would have liked, but it will help. We are hoping next year will be better.
Students putting up corn

Students gather to put corn into storage
 It took 13 people seven full working days to clear the corn field and make it ready to plant beans. As of last night the rains returned after a two week dry spell and bean planting began today. Beans are very popular here. Though they look a little different from our red kidney beans back home, they taste just like good ole fashion Red Beans and Rice in Louisiana. And the answer is "yes", I even found some Tobasco in one of the Indian owned stores. Now if I could just teach them how to make good cornbread.
Corn field cleared and ready for beans

Workers clearing corn field
 It was strange to see a rainbow in the middle of a two week dry spell here lately. Though it's not great, in the picture below the rainbow soars over the church.
Rainbow over Immaculate Conception Church

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I shared this on facebook, but I realized many who read this blog don't use facebook.

It seems 2-3 of our 54 resident students have malaria every day since school began. Had to bring one to the hospital to get fluids because he became too weak to walk. We need to put nets over their beds, but can't find them. Let's see, can't find bed nets and school has no text books. Something wrong with this picture.

One issue with mosquito's here is that they are smaller and you don't always see them or hear them at night. Sounds scary, like some kind of science fiction horror movie. To make it even scarier, we have three brothers in our community and one has not had malaria yet. I'll never tell.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Our Daily Schedule

First, I want to thank my family, brothers, friends and God for giving me this opportunity to work in Amatongas. Saturday, Feb. 4 2011, I arrived in Mozambique. It has been one incredible year.

Since the students arrived three weeks ago our days go by like a flash. I thought I would share with you our daily schedule to give a sense of our day. As you may remember, our school actually has three sessions, one in the morning, one beginning after lunch and an evening session for those who work during the day. Our resident students attend either the morning or afternoon session. Below is the schedule for the students attending school in the morning. The difference, of course, for the students who attend school in the afternoon is that they study in the morning. The different schedules require student monitoring all day, every day.

           AM Schedule

  5:25              Roll Call
  5:30              House cleaning jobs
  6:00              Bathroom
  6:30              Breakfast
6:45               Class for AM students
12:00              Lunch
13:15              Study for AM students
14:15              Break
14:45-             Study for AM students
16:00              Recreation for AM Students
18:30              Supper
19:00              Prayers,Various
20:00              Study for all
21:30              Sleep


Fr. Jose with students at first Mass of the year
Every week Mass is celebrated on Sunday and Tuesday by our pastor, Fr. Jose.
Fr. Jose distributes communion while Br. Lucas leads the singing

Student Monitors, in blue,  lead the residents before each meal

Meals are served family style

New front entrance to resident student area
with kitchen in background
 Br. Lucas began teaching a full load of physics classes in the evenings. In the picture below he is teaching to 48 students in a classroom with two small lightbulbs.
Br. Lucas teaching physics at night