Saturday, January 15, 2011

Back to School: Janario, Marcus, and Abrantis

Friday we visited 3 boys to make sure they were all set for school. It is rainy season here in Mozambique and it rained so much on Thursday that we had to cancel our visits. So we are a bit behind schedule and having to squeeze more into each day. The rain also makes for interesting driving in the villages around Maputo! I drove through some pretty deep holes/ditches full of water. And I'm no expert on driving in these type of conditions so i just choose a side and drive! Thankfully God protected my car!!!

We were able to get Janario all set to study in grade 3. He is 11 years old and has been off the streets since June. Next was Marcus who is 14 and also returned home in June. He'll be studying in grade 5. Finally was Abrantis...whom I affectionately call "Malouco" (crazy person). Abrantis is 15 and has been home since last February. My first year working at Masana, Abrantis was one of the boys I was closest to. He would wash my car for me every week. Every sunday, he would bring a bag of frozen food to my house and ask to heat it up. He brought me a pet bird named Sarina and then took me on a bird hunt to show me how to catch birds. We had a special bond! Since he went home, he's twice taken me and some friends to a small, almost deserted island near his families house. He's a great kid! This year he'll be studying in the 6th grade.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Back to School: Matusse

Matusse’s real name is Sadik. Many of the boys make up names for themselves when they begin living on the street so that they don’t have to reveal their true identity to others. When we reintegrated Matusse with his father back in November, we learned his real name. Matusse is 14 years old. He’ll be studying in the 5th grade this year.

Matusse has had a hard time since he returned home. Just before Christmas, he got into trouble and his father kicked him out of the house. On today’s visit, when we should have been focusing on Matusse’s school registration, we were sorting through this family dispute. We had a 4 hour meeting with Matusse, his father, his sister, his stepmother, and the chief of their village. Matusse’s father was trying to forbid his son from living with his sister as well. So the chief of the village intervened to mediate through the dispute. In the end, Matusse’s father was forced to give Matusse all of the things we had purchased for him (clothes, blankets, and a small business) and grant his son permission to live with other family members. The ending was good but it was a frustrating situation. I’ll never understand how a father can kick his son out rather than forgive him for his error. Please keep Matusse in your prayers as he adjusts to living with his older sister. His father lives very close to this sister so there is still hope for their relationship to be restored.

Back to School: Gito

Gito is 16 years old. He returned home in May, 2010. He lives with his father and stepmother. Gito truly lives in the “bush!” To get to his house, we drive about an house, most of which is on a dirt road. Then we turn off the dirt road onto a road that isn’t really much of a road but more of a path with really overgrown grass between fields of corn. We drive as far as we can and then walk the last 10 or 15 minutes to Gito’s house.

Last year, Gito completed the adult literacy program and passed his 5th grade exam. He will be studying in the 6th grade this year. Unfortunately, Gito lost the document saying he passed that exam so we’ll have to return to his old school and get a new one before we can complete his registration. Sometimes the registration process can be quite time consuming. For many Mozambican families, this is a deterrent because it costs money in transport and fees to get these documents and they just don’t have the extra money. So this becomes one way that Masana is able to bless these boys and their families!

Back to School

January marks the beginning of a new school year here in Mozambique. The couple of weeks leading up to the first day of classes is when all of the kids register for their grade. Sadly, some kids have families that don’t really place a high value on education and these kids end up not attending school. At Masana, we believe that education is very important. When we reintegrate a boy back with his family, we commit to paying all school fees and buying school materials for at least a year. That means that, during this 2 week period in January, we visit all of the boys that we’ve reintegrated in the previous year. It’s a lot of work but its so worth it because it gives us a chance to check in with all of the boys and their families and see how they are getting along.

So over the next 7 days we’ll visit Gito, Matusse, Reginaldo, Marcos, Fred, Semera, Abrantis, Juma, Janario, Luis, Paito, Fabiao, Manuel, and Pai. Stories to follow!