Dear Family and Friends, 4 October, 2009
In the past 2 weeks we have said 'goodbye' to two dear friends, Miriah Hodgins and Liz Richert. Miriah returned to Canada on September 1st after spending 4 months with us here in Burkina. And, Liz returned to the States on September 15th after spending 11 months with us. During their time in Yako, they labored and ministered in caring for the babies in the orphanage, in teaching at our primary school, in tutoring children in reading, English, and basic math skills, in conducting a weekly Bible Club for children in our neighborhood, in a Vacation Bible School, in home visits of our sponsored children, in preparing home
studies for prospective sponsored children, in teaching English, in typing tedious French documents, in planning movie nights and fun activities for our older children, in praying with our children, in singing in the church choirs, etc., etc., etc.
Both of these young women left a legacy of love in the hearts of our children and our local church. Everyone from the youngest of our babies to the oldest of our secondary school children were impacted by your living Christian message, Liz and Miriah. Everyone loves you and misses you!
Preparations for 'Back to School'
My observation is that no matter where you are in the world, this time of year brings a flurry of ivity in getting children ready to go back to school. And, Yako is no exception to this phenomena. This year we have 27 school age children in the orphanage, 120 children in our primary school, and 190 children in our sponsorship program and 'most needy list' who we are sending to school. In total, that is 337 children to verify that they are enrolled in school, pay their school fees, order their school uniforms, and buy their school supplies.
The official first day of school here in Burkina is October 1st. For our primary school, teachers will be in place, school rooms will be prepared and school books and supplies will be in order. But, because we live in a rural area and harvesting of the millet will not yet be completed, most of our children will still be needed at home to work in the fields. School will actually start for us towards the 10th to 15th of October.
Raising the flag ceremony
New Children in the Orphanage--
Each year at 'back to school time' our orphanage family usually grows by 3 or 4 children. This year is not looking to be an exception to this trend. Georges is a vulnerable child who has come to the orphanage so that he can continue his studies. Georges parents are both living but his father abandoned his family many years ago. Georges' mother sells peanuts and sometimes wood in her village in order to try to provide for herself and her children.
Georges is a good student. He is 17 years old and he is in the 10th grade this year.
Abdoul Karim was born on Aug 21, 2009. Because Abdoul's mother is not well mentally, she refused to nurse him and even tried to kill him. When Abdoul's father realized that the child was in danger he took Abdoul to Social Action who then called us to see if we could care for Abdoul. We will keep Abdoul until he is 12 months old and then he will integrate back into his family. This will give his father time to get treatment for his mother and if necessary, find someone else in the family to care for Abdoul.
Soumaila was born on Sept 26, 2009. His mother also is not well mentally and is not capable of caring for him. Soum's father wants him and has assured us that he will find someone in the family who is willing and capable of caring for the baby. We will care for him until he is 12 months old.
Soum is very tiny, possibly pre-mature. When he came into the orphanage he weighed 1,450 kilos or just a little more than 3 pounds. We tried to get Soum into the neo-natal ward in Ouagadougou but they would not accept him because he is already over one week old. Today we took Soum to Ouayaghuia to a private pediatric clinic because he is not eating and is becoming dehydrated. Please pray for Soum. Dr Zala thinks that he is strong and that with good care he will survive.
New Short-Term Missionaries!
Sarah and Lisa are from Germany and they arrived in Yako on September 26th. They have come to work with us for 11 months and they have come to us through the mission SIM (Serving In Missions). Sarah and Lisa are settling into daily life at the orphanage very quickly and tomorrow will start working with our toddlers in a pre-school class.
Upcoming trip home--
In the midst of all the normal activities here I am planning and looking forward to a trip home. I will be home for 6 weeks and the purpose of this trip is rest and relaxation. I will be in the ST Louis area for most of my time home but am also planning a couple short trips here and there to see friends and family.
I will be leaving here on Oct 15th and will leave the States to return here on Nov 30th. I look forward to catching up with each one of you!