Monday, 4 May 2015

More Adventures in the Primary School

by Jess Cropsey

As some of you faithful readers may remember, I wrote about Ecole Primaire de Kibuye (the local primary school) a few months ago.  There have been some exciting developments lately, and I wanted to share those with you.

1.)  Four of the team kids are now students at EPK!  A few weeks ago, Elise & Anna started attending French twice a week with one of the classes that I teach English to.  During that time, I take Micah & Sam to the pre-school class.  For the most part, they’ve all done a great job and it’s gone relatively smoothly.  Please pray that this will allow them to develop more relationships with Burundian children and acquire more language skills.  Pray for wisdom for Heather and I as we consider increasing the amount of time they spend there next school year.

2.)  The new classroom for the 8th year students is well on its way to completion.  The parents raised the money to get the basic structure up (bricks, roof), but lacked sufficient funds to add the finishing touches — door, windows, sidewalk around the classroom, concrete floor inside, blackboard, student desks, etc.  Thanks to one of our donors, the classroom will be ready for next year’s class! 




3.)  A new principal has recently been added to the school to work with the existing principal and supervise the older grades (7th-9th).  She seems really great.  Please pray for her as she transitions into her new role.

4.)  A parent meeting was convened a few weeks ago to discuss the construction project at the school and to think about ways that the parents can be involved in the school.  During the meeting it was decided that groups of parents would come once a month for a work day.  The first one was today and there were probably at least 100 parents outside working on the grounds. 



5.)  Our partner at Kibuye, the Free Methodist Church, is exploring a possible partnership with an educational organization that has a lot of experience working with schools in Rwanda.  They are wanting to expand to Burundi.  I’ve heard a lot of great things about this organization and I think they could be a huge resource for teacher training and curriculum development.  Please pray for God’s clear guidance as to whether this would be a beneficial partnership for the school.  

6.)  Over the last few months, I’ve been working on gathering supplies for next year.  Thanks to those of you who are participating in the “Adopt a Teacher” project (an Operation-Christmas-Child-type box for the teachers here).  I have also gathered enough supplies (I hope!) to provide each of the 1,000 students with a small bag of basic school supplies.  These items will be sent out on a shipping container from Michigan in August.  If you’d like to participate, I have some ideas of other ways to help out, so let me know (jesscropsey@yahoo.com).   

7.)  In February, the team kids started a Kirundi class twice a week with Madame Thérèse, the pre-school teacher at the primary school.  We had a great field trip to her house on Friday.  Blog soon to follow with more on that adventure!   


I don’t need to tell you how important education is, but it is particularly critical to Burundi’s future.  Since Burundi is the second most densely populated country in Africa, people struggle to have enough food for themselves, let alone have anything leftover to sell.  As families continue to grow (the average woman has 5-6 children) and land gets divided up into even smaller pieces, it will be impossible for farming to continue as the primary source of food and income.  This is one of the many reasons why education is so important here.  The next generation needs other ways to make a living.

So please join me in praying for this school and its teachers, administrators, and students.  And for each of us as we interact with the school in a culture and language very different than our own.  I hope and pray that we will be a blessing to each other in different ways.     
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