Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Banner Day

Greetings good friends!

I’m writing to you from the courtyard of the ELCIN Guest House – having just enjoyed a “fat cake” (a super greasy donut) from the kitchen! The sun is shining, the temperature is warming up pleasantly, and I just ate fried dough. It’s safe to say that all is well. J

Yesterday was an absolute whirlwind of a day! We visited four schools in just over four hours. The stories from yesterday seem to be endless in my mind, as I was hit with wave after wave of emotions. We saw GREAT teaching and beautiful learners. We heard stories of impressive academic achievement, and unimaginable financial hardships. There were sounds of joyous music, and impressive language skills. All in all, it was a banner day for Empowering Learners.

In time, we’ll share all the highlights from yesterday, but today I’ll start with our visit to the Reverend Philippus Henok Kindergarten. I think the words transformation and enlightened fit nicely in how I was feeling during our time with the learners there. For those that remember, the Henok Kindergarten is the school we visited exactly one year ago, and is named in honor of Pastor Henok (current pastor of the Oniipa Parish, and former ELCIN Education Secretary). It was Pastor Henok who initially linked Empowering Learners to the ELCIN schools in the North of Namibia through an email relationship. After our visit last year we joined with the Oshigambo community and Pastor Henok to build a permanent building for their learners. As we’ve reported earlier, the school was built in record time, and learners have been residing there for nearly five months! The following pictures tell a great transformation story, and I couldn’t be more blown away.

As you can see from the pictures not only does the school look great, but also the learners have some really sharp uniforms! Upon our arrival the learners, teachers, and community members had a wonderful program all prepared for us. Not only were their language skills, singing, and dancing superb, they showed us such hospitality. I was speechless. Being in that beautiful building we built together, we shared so much joy! The love and kindness I felt was so genuine and humble. Our time together was so much more than just a moment of thankfulness - it was an acknowledgement to our common endeavors in education and development. Together, we’ve insured that those precious learners have a comfortable place to attend school. For all of you that had a part in making that particular project happen, I send thanks. Not just from me, but from all of us who benefit.

A quick update from one kindergartener. Many of you have seen THIS VIDEO of Labani from our visit last year. We’re happy to pass along that Labani is now 5, and doing GREAT! He still wants to be a policeman, but he also has a special passion for soccer. He personally, thanked us all for the soccer ball, although he didn’t really need to. 

His smile said it all. 

Empowering Learners

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