Thursday, January 12, 2012

School Registration

It's that time of year again. We've been busy busy busy getting all of our reintegrated boys registered for the new school year. This is always a mission as things aren't necessarily easy here in Mozambique. This process of school registrations always reminds that i live in a 3rd World country! Here are some of the frustrations:

* The responsibility lies with the parents or guardians to go to the schools near their house and search for a school with space for their child. The schools here are very over-crowded with an average of 50-70 students per classroom so this is not always an easy task! Some of our boys live with aunts, uncles, or grandparents who are not able or willing to oversee the registration process so the responsibility then lies with us.

* Because most of our boys abandoned school in the past when they began living on the streets, the process of getting them back into school is even more complicated. We have to go speak to the directors personally and explain the role we, as a project, are playing in helping the boy reintegrate into his family and community. Often we have to pay a fine as well for the boy to be allowed back in the school.

* If the boy is starting at a different school then where he last studied, we have to go to the old school and request his grades. This usually takes a day or two so we have to return later to pick it up. With some of our boys, we have had to go to 3 or 4 different schools in his community before finding one with an opening in his grade.

* Many of our boys do not have proper documentation (birth certificate) or if they have it it is at a family members house 2 hours away. Without documentation its difficult to register a boy for school because we cannot prove his age. In these situations, we are usually able to get special permission from the director for the boy to start studying with the promise that we will organize his documents within a set period of time. Other boys have documentation but it's not accurate. For example, we have a 12 year old boy whose birth document says he is 16. We are trying to register him for grade 4 or 5 and having lots of trouble because of the age on his document.

At the end of the day, its worth all of the frustration of going from school to school because we firmly believe that education is an important aspect of our boys being successfully reintegrated into their families and communities. Without education, their are few hopes for a successful future. Without school, many of the boys would end up right back on the street.

Please be praying for our boys as they begin their new school year in the next week or so. After being on the street it is hard for them to discipline themselves to go to school and study. Pray for good teachers who will really invest in them. Pray for the boys to truly see the value of education and the impact it has on their future.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

December in a Nutshell

Even in Africa, life is busy during the holidays! So here is a picture-summary of December:

On December 1, the Masana day center closed for the holidays. We had a party and gave out soccer jerseys to the boys that had done well in school during the year and to those who had had the best attitudes.

Little Chico with his jersey that he got for always helping out with our daily cleaning.

Isaac and Felix helped us put out some lights and Christmas decorations. This is Isaac testing to see if the lights work!

This is George the Giraffe all ready for Christmas!

Our beautiful little Christmas tree!

I dyed my hair red!

We spent my birthday at the beach/pool. This is little Chico enjoying one of my yummy birthday cupcakes.

Lauren and I bought the boys that live with us a fun Christmas present. Wrapped in sales ads of course!

Christmas stockings are a foreign concept in Mozambique. The boys always try them on as boots!

It's a ping pong table!!!

Isaac decorating cookies that we gave to all the Masana staff.

Felix was so creative with his cookie decorating! He made plenty of extras to take to his family that he spent Christmas day with.

On December 21, we had a FUN Christmas party for all the street kids!

I spent the Christmas weekend in Durban, South Africa with my roommate Lauren and her family. Then I was back in Mozambique for New Years where I got to set off fireworks with some of my boys.

Happy New Year to all and may 2012 be filled with blessings!!!!