Here are a few words from John's last trip:
"In Rwanda, we have gathered the children under our wings. During my visit of Jan and Feb, I watched forty 4 & 5 yr olds follow in rapt attention as their gifted teacher led them through a song, clapping and swaying. The children are attentive, harmonious and happy. They would otherwise surely spend their days in small, dirt yards with only sticks and stones to play with. Here there are blocks and puzzles, toys and books. It helps that they enjoy a large cup of porridge every day. Their teacher Josie, with only a secondary education, shows a huge talent for engaging them. I found a teacher training program 50 km away where we can sponsor her certification and career. She is a jewel richly deserving this little bit of polish.
I also visited 2 “Healthy Mums” groups who meet for 6 – 8 months primarily to learn how to feed their malnourished kids to a state of good health. They practice mixing local produce into nutritious meals. They also have discussions on hygiene, child raising, and family planning for which they otherwise have very limited access. After several months both kids and moms look healthier and more confident.
Dozens of families have in last year received efficient stoves that no longer endanger kids with indoor smoke and open flame. Stoves are made in the cottage factory we built in the pigmy village of the parish – With their new income the pigmy mothers are now getting treatment for sick kids and sending them to school in uniforms.
The $300 – 400 we invest in our parish each month brings streams of benefit to mothers and children. You see in their eyes that they feel cared for.