The logistics of providing about 400 school meals at PIZZ each day is complicated!!
Early in the day rice is put into large pots and these are refilled throughout the morning. Sugar and groundnuts are added and the children come to receive their food according to a rota. This process is carried out on two sites.
The recipe needs to be varied according to the availability of food – for instance groundnuts are not always available. (It is planned to buy one year's supply of maize and store it for 2017 – another logistical challenge!)
All of this is carried out by the local people because they recognise that this process is so valuable and makes such a difference to the lives of the children.
Together we are planning a kitchen and dining area to be built in the near future to improve the process.
During my recent visit I recognised some of the children from previous years, and it was a delight to see how much they had changed. What gives me most joy is to see that wonderful spark of life, replacing the look that says that a child is living with the weight of the world on their shoulders.
The school is proving real hope for the children and the meals are allowing the children to take advantage of this opportunity. Thank you for giving joy to so many children!
The Benin project is moving forward on all fronts, thanks to generous support from individuals and groups.
The first intake of children to the 'Chez Papa Geoff' orphanage is due next month and short-term support is in place.
The long-term financial support is now assured too, as a donor has provided for the purchase of 8 hectares (20 acres) of land. This will be farmed to produce an income for the orphanage.
The bottleneck, as far as farming is concerned, has proved to be the planting of maize which is very much their staple crop. Hand planting in temperatures of 36 degrees C is both exhausting and slow! A hand-pushed seeder worked better but was unable to cope with crop residues which, from a husbandry point of view it is desirable to leave in the soil.
I originally trained as an agricultural engineer, and now (almost 50 years later) have dusted off my early training and am building a powered two-row seeder which will cope with local conditions.
A local firm has donated some solar panels which are sufficient to run the whole orphanage “off grid”. This will give a big saving in running costs and also avoids the need for emergency lighting to cover the relatively frequent power cuts of 6 hours or more.
All this equipment will be crated up for shipment in late September. Nigel England and I hope to visit in November / December to help install the panels.
As far as the children are concerned, HATW is delighted with your support to be able to help ever increasing numbers of orphans to receive schooling. And we are currently investigating the possibility of corrective surgery for one young orphaned boy who has deformed legs. You can see him here: https://youtu.be/xuqT_sLxHno
Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement!
It's now very likely that there will once again be a small group of volunteers returning to help at Muko School in Bugarama for several weeks before Christmas.
Probably a group of four in all, one of whom is a TEFL specialist keen to return to teach English to the teachers of this school and others in surrounding areas. In Rwanda the first language is Kinyarwanda and the second is French, but in recent years the government has promoted a move to become English-speaking and has joined the Commonwealth. Our teaching programme has proved to be very successful over the last few years; it is well attended and appreciated by all participants.
The remaining volunteers, along with a local labour force, will continue with the maintenance program that has transformed the school for its 1700 pupils.
Last year we were able to raise enough funds to build a replacement kitchen block which, although still basic by western standards, allows beans and rice to be cooked for the senior school students.
Additional toilets and water tanks have also now been installed, which allows hand washing after using the long-drop toilets.
The school has asked that completing the perimeter wall remain a priority - this is helping to reduce damage to the classrooms, and also flooding of the classrooms during the rainy season.
The general cleaning, painting and repairing is still ongoing.
Of course all of this work has to be financed, and any donations are much appreciated. Our volunteers pay their own expenses and fares.
Thank you for your ongoing interest and support!