499 Students and continued School-Construction
The schooling of the children continued well in 2014 and the school keeps growing. The Primary School now has 414 students who are going to our school free of charge. The people of Mushapo and the surrounding villages asked if we could also start a Secondary School which is running since this school year and has 85 students. Since the villagers know that our means are limited, they offered to pay for the teachers, so they don’t have to send their children to Tshikapa, 65 km away, with no means of transport.
It is a Technical Vocational School with emphasis on agricultural training. Our piece of land and Ing. Jean – an expert agronomist with many years of training and experience, even abroad – are the best prerequisites for this school to succeed. These older students also receive Computer classes for which we gave the school another laptop. We also got a good new photocopy machine so the school can prepare exam papers thrice a year etc. Jean found a new teacher, Jéremie, who studied in Kinshasa and has many years of experience in Kamonia and Tshikapa. He is an excellent French teacher, gives hygiene classes and trains the teachers from the Primary School.
The most outstanding victory this year was a breakthrough with Higher-up Chief Mungamba who ordered a stop to our construction when Jos was in Mushapo in March. His secretary also confiscated our building materials and requested a lot of money and gifts from us. Our ADH Congo members in Kinshasa, Gilbert and Mpona, tried to get him to change his mind, while André called the governor of West Kasai, but nothing worked. After 8 months and many tries, finally André called the Minister of Education, Mr. Maker Mwangu, who was shocked at what the Chief was doing and took immediate action! Within one week all the confiscated materials were returned, the construction restarted and no bribes were paid! In Congo, that’s nothing less than a miracle!
Our communication with Jean works well, thanks to phones and internet. We are basically in daily contact with him. He prepared a week by week construction plan for the next school buildings and so far it’s going as planned. Since the 70 bags of cement had gone bad after 6 months because of the construction stop, Jean went to Angola to buy new cement as it is cheaper there than in Tshikapa. The 2nd school building on our own land is already half done and more bricks are being prepared for the 3rd building. Each of these buildings will hold 4 classrooms and with the 2 big classrooms in our 1st building we’ll have 10 classrooms in bricks. This will give the school a good future as the temporary school buildings of the old farmhouses will not last much longer. All the other old farmhouses which were not kept up broke down by now. It is high time we move the school to new brick buildings.
Unfortunately some of our teachers and other people in the village lost again some little children and other lives due to inadequate health care. The doctor who worked in Mushapo wasn’t qualified which was found out when he made a few deadly mistakes after which he ran away. We need to find a solution for this problem and are starting to look for financial support for it.
We had our own health challenges in Europe when Lenka had two operations; the first one turning out more complicated than expected which is why she needed a second correctional one. Thank God it all worked out fine and she is doing very well now. But we just heard that Jos, who helped so much in Mushapo for many months on end, has cancer of the bladder. We are very thankful for the good medical and private care he receives during this time.
In summer we were able to participate again together with Jos and our friends in Munich in an interview with Christopher Griebel from the München TV. Here is the link to it: http://youtu.be/QsK8FxJmJOs. Jens and Andrej were able to publish our new multi-language website, so far in German. They are expanding it into English at the moment and our translators are working hard to finish translations into French and Czech. All 4 languages will be accessible under the same link: www.adh-congo.org
Our little family decided to move one more time to Congo before Anissa enters school next year in Czech. Najma, our dear friend in Kinshasa, and her family who run a big English Int’l School, accepted Anissa free of charge in their school, for which we are very thankful as otherwise we couldn’t have afforded it in this expensive city.
Mpona’s friend, widow Mama Sara and her family graciously let us use a two room annex on their property for a very low price. It is perfectly located as we can walk to school from here, avoiding two extra headaches every day when literally 100s of cars bring and pick up students.
Next planned steps: Finish two new school buildings and give a last try to set up an agricultural project, this time on our own property which will be overseen by the teachers and students. It will help train the students in agriculture which we believe is the best way for them to earn a living in the future. We are planning to build 7 simple and strong houses around our land for the teachers which are not living nearby so they can also help protect the harvest from thieves. Since we are trying to get the government to pay the teachers a minimum salary, the produce of the agricultural project is supposed to supplement their payment so the students can continue to get free education.
We wish you all the best, good health and a lot of joy in your life,